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Old 12-21-2011, 06:15 AM
Status: "Reluctant widower." (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: SW MO
23,571 posts, read 27,973,710 times
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All the many comments, discussions, suppositions, arguments, pros, cons, etc. aside, the burning question remains, is it safe in Oakland?

That being said/asked (with obvious evil intent), there's something people need to keep in mind when looking at and quoting crime statistics and especially crime indices. A single number, whether low or high, is relatively meaningless. One has to look at the population of the area being rated as well. The smaller the population, the higher on the crime scale a single crime will drive it. One violent crime out in a town of 25,000 will drive the index up far higher than that same crime will in a city of 500,000.

Secondly and perhaps more importantly, when determining the illusive quality of "safety," is the nature of the crimes being reported. In an index, a petty theft drives up the number equally as much as does a rape or an assault. Therefore, to get a real "feel" for the area in question you have to consider the differences and impacts between property crimes and truly violent crimes.

By way of example, a small city near where we live has a population of just under 8,000. It also has a very high crime index as reported on C-D. However, the number is misleading. It does not take into account the fact that the place is flooded with 8,000,000 tourists a year against whom many very minor property crimes are perpetuated - purse snatches, pick-pockets, articles being stolen from hotel rooms, over-charging, short-changing etc. Violent crimes are almost non-existent.

For the place in question, the bottom line is that in terms of personal safety, one can be quite comfortable and the element of risk is almost non-existent. You simply need to take reasonable precautions against losing some of your hard-earned dollars the same as you should in any tourist area. Yet to look at the crime index number you would think it awash with vicious criminals with violent intent.

I hope this helps put the numbers game in a proper perspective. Now then, when next we visit family in the Sacramento area, I think we'll take a spin through Oakland since there have been many references to lovely areas we've yet to see.

 
Old 12-21-2011, 09:24 AM
 
181 posts, read 391,290 times
Reputation: 260
How can anyone take this thread seriously when the OP complains that people are generalizing about the city of Oakland and then in the same breath generalizes the issue, saying it is simply due to racism?

Oakland has a high crime rate, which objective facts will tell you. That is going to be a concern for anyone who is potentially relocating there. if you can't understand why this would be an issue, than you lack comprehension skills.

I also find it unusual that you think the same amount of crime is liable to happen anywhere else. I doubt Walnut Creek has unreported crimes that rival Oakland.

Let's use common sense here.
 
Old 12-21-2011, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Springfield, Ohio
10,739 posts, read 8,272,320 times
Reputation: 9457
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
All the many comments, discussions, suppositions, arguments, pros, cons, etc. aside, the burning question remains, is it safe in Oakland?

That being said/asked (with obvious evil intent), there's something people need to keep in mind when looking at and quoting crime statistics and especially crime indices. A single number, whether low or high, is relatively meaningless. One has to look at the population of the area being rated as well. The smaller the population, the higher on the crime scale a single crime will drive it. One violent crime out in a town of 25,000 will drive the index up far higher than that same crime will in a city of 500,000.

Secondly and perhaps more importantly, when determining the illusive quality of "safety," is the nature of the crimes being reported. In an index, a petty theft drives up the number equally as much as does a rape or an assault. Therefore, to get a real "feel" for the area in question you have to consider the differences and impacts between property crimes and truly violent crimes.

By way of example, a small city near where we live has a population of just under 8,000. It also has a very high crime index as reported on C-D. However, the number is misleading. It does not take into account the fact that the place is flooded with 8,000,000 tourists a year against whom many very minor property crimes are perpetuated - purse snatches, pick-pockets, articles being stolen from hotel rooms, over-charging, short-changing etc. Violent crimes are almost non-existent.

For the place in question, the bottom line is that in terms of personal safety, one can be quite comfortable and the element of risk is almost non-existent. You simply need to take reasonable precautions against losing some of your hard-earned dollars the same as you should in any tourist area. Yet to look at the crime index number you would think it awash with vicious criminals with violent intent.

I hope this helps put the numbers game in a proper perspective. Now then, when next we visit family in the Sacramento area, I think we'll take a spin through Oakland since there have been many references to lovely areas we've yet to see.
Great post

The fact is when you're discussing a city as large geographically as Oakland, there are certainly crime-infested areas where you need bars on the windows to your home and watch your back every time you leave the house, and there are areas which are basically gated communities without the gates, and virtually crime-free.
The same is true for global capitals such as Mexico City, Kingston and Johannesburg, all with tarnished reputations but with many areas where you can roam and not think twice about personal safety.
 
Old 12-21-2011, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
3,735 posts, read 2,529,867 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILove View Post
If you are so unfamiliar with Oakland that you have to take to asking people online where it is safe for you to go in the entire city, then it's obvious you haven't taken the initiative to visit any parts of this beautiful city for yourself first. If you had, you'd know very well how wonderful a city it is, and that you won't get shot upon entry.
With all due respect ILove, I moved here from the UK which is 5000+ miles away, an 11 hour+ flight plus thousands of pounds to get here (x5 as there are 5 of us). As I said, if I hadn't read the positive comments on city data first, I'd never even have bothered to visit Oakland when considering where to live. Its a pretty time consuming and expensive trip to make if you hadn't done a bit of research first.
Also I still take issue with the comments about being afraid of Oakland = racism. For me the last thing I was worried about was race. I was concerned about crime statistics, nothing more, nothing less, particularly coming from a part of the world where murders are a tiny, tiny, TINY fraction of what they are in the US. It was obviously going to be a huge culture shock for me to come from a place which IS very, very safe (hence my earlier comments) and where I could walk down absolutely ANY road in my previous city and know I would be fine.
I did visit Oakland, decided that yes it was a great city and moved here.
If I was at all racist I would not be living in Oakland.
I am equally concerned about the crime going on in San Francisco or any other part of the USA with high crime statistics. Am I still racist if I view these cities in the same light? Of course not. Please don't assume that because people are concerned about crime they must therefore be racist.

Last edited by Cruithne; 12-21-2011 at 11:17 AM..
 
Old 12-21-2011, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
24,963 posts, read 24,743,684 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kentmum View Post
Also I still take issue with the comments about being afraid of Oakland = racism. For me the last thing I was worried about was race. I was concerned about crime statistics, nothing more, nothing less, particularly coming from a part of the world where murders are a tiny, tiny, TINY fraction of what they are in the US. It was obviously going to be a huge culture shock for me to come from a place which IS very, very safe (hence my earlier comments) and where I could walk down absolutely ANY road in my previous city and know I would be fine.
I think iLove meant, the preoccupation with crime in Oakland is a function of "privilege" to use a sociology term. Crime rates seem to be emphasized more for cities with a higher minority population than those without.

This isn't a perfect comparison, but for example, the dangerous areas of Chicago are awful -- the true definition of the neglected, violent, under-served community. But you never hear anyone say Chicago is to be avoided and the whole city is a "train wreck." Everyone understands implicitly that some areas are to be avoided and others are really nice. Granted, it is of course a larger city than Oakland by far.

Cabrini Green(probably the works projects in the US and the poster child for dysfunctional high rises for low income housing, I think at its peak 10k people lived there) is/was right next to the Gold Coast (where Oprah lives), and no one started saying avoid downtown Chicago and the Loop. It is also generally considered that Chicago probably has the most government corruption around, but the Chicago-land leaders were never derided as much as Marion Berry and the Detroit leadership for corruption.

The rules (and criticisms) are applied inconsistently.

There seems to be a general desire to avoid focusing on anything positive related to Oakland (or Detroit, or New Orleans, and for a long time DC).
 
Old 12-21-2011, 01:44 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
3,735 posts, read 2,529,867 times
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I know Jade. But ILove's actual words were:
"The only reason people act like they're afraid of Oakland is racism".

That is a very broad sweeping statement to make and makes me feel like people must think I am racist just because I initially had my own concerns about Oakland. I didn't even know about the specific racial make up of Oakland before I came here, all I knew were the statistics, and even if I did know it wouldn't have made a difference.
I did know that the Bay area was made up of people from all sorts of backgrounds and for me that was a good thing.
Now I can't speak for the whole of the UK here, I'm only telling you what I've experienced myself. But people there don't judge other people by their color, I know I certainly don't, so this is a whole new thing for me as well. Sure I remember when I was a kid in the 60's and 70's there was quite a bit of racial political incorrectness but that all fizzled out years ago and I remember knowing it was wrong then. These days you would be virtually ostracized from society for making any kind of racial indiscretion. One of the things I've had to get used to in the US is how much people do talk about race in comparison to what I'm used to.

It would also be fair to say that the UK is predominantly white of course, and because I'm from there I can't speak for how people feel about race in the US, so you could legitimately criticise me for that. All I'm saying is don't make assumptions about what you think is going on in people's heads because it isn't necessarily the case and don't assume everyone is the same.
If ILove had said "some people are afraid of Oakland because of racism" it wouldn't have pushed my buttons and I'd have agreed with her.
 
Old 12-21-2011, 01:58 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 10,466,568 times
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I do think a lot of it is race, Oakland is always identified by out of towners as a very black city even though it's about 1/3rd black, 1/3rd white, and the rest is mostly a mix of hispanic and asian. If you don't live here or haven't lived here very long all you will know about Oakland is its crime because that is all you ever hear about when Oakland comes up. But if you've lived here a while you will see how exaggerated the crime rate is when you look at the entire city and how most of the city is safer and quieter and cleaner than San Francisco. But people paint the whole city as nothing but a giant black ghetto.

Maybe if you are from another country all you know about Oakland is the crime and that is it, and you don't really hear much about race. But if you're in the Bay Area or other parts of the US, you know that Oakland is identified as a very black city. And if you live in Oakland, you know how exaggerated the crime rate is.
 
Old 12-21-2011, 04:50 PM
 
92 posts, read 137,530 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILove View Post
If you are so unfamiliar with Oakland that you have to take to asking people online where it is safe for you to go in the entire city, then it's obvious you haven't taken the initiative to visit any parts of this beautiful city for yourself first. If you had, you'd know very well how wonderful a city it is, and that you won't get shot upon entry.

If you're too afraid to do this (see it for yourself first) then I have to wonder why you are even interested in coming here, and I wonder how you and people who share in your uncertainty of this city will affect the social interactions and the energy of Oakland.
.
Why not? The forum is for folks to ask questions and share information and opinions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ILove View Post
Again, the reason I credit racism for Oakland being labeled dangerous is that this is not a crime ridden city, it's a city with crime. There aren't just a few parts of Oakland that the average person can enjoy without being mugged/raped/killed, but there are a lot of areas that the average person can enjoy without these things happening. People simply don't bother to visit them because of the rumors, and again I feel the rumors are fueled by racism.

This is a large city, and it just so happens to have a sizable black population. It stands to reason that the inspiration behind labeling the entire city as dangerous (which the media you spoke of has for many years) is simply a generalization of a predominantly black city with crime. Most people except this generalization without question since we're all familiar with associating blacks with crime.

As with any large city (and I mention large city because they tend to have all sorts of people contributing to their large numbers), you probably don't want to go wandering around alone at odd hours, and you typically don't want to venture to the areas where the residents have taken the liberty of making it obvious they don't care for tourists/outsiders (gang tags, busted street lights, etc). Oakland has these areas, yes, but the average person wouldn't have any reason to be in areas like this anyway so it really shouldn't be an issue. A sizable amount of Oakland is plenty 'safe' for most of us to live in and enjoy without being attacked randomly.
Don't buy it. Your trying to label all people asking if the city is safe as being racist.

You can't hide behind the "large city" and try to spin things. There's numbers like violent crime per 1000 that takes into account the city population. It doesn't care for race in those numbers.

Again, Oakland has some pretty good spots but the bad areas are so bad that they skew people's view of the city.
 
Old 12-21-2011, 04:53 PM
 
92 posts, read 137,530 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etoile_filante View Post
The difference that everyone is trying to point out is not when a well-meaning out of towner is trying to get a little more info about what safety is like in Oakland.

It is not people who ask if Oakland is safe that people from Oakland are tired of. It's people who unequivocally, without ever having lived here, state with "authority" that the ENTIRE city is:

- a hellhole
- a slum
- comparable to Baghdad
- a ghetto

You really have no idea how tiring that is when you're from here, and sometimes there are racist undertones to the comments, though I won't chalk it up to just that. It's not something you can really know about unless you've experienced it. Sample comment: "Isn't Oakland like, you know, hood?"

My friend who just bought a condo in a sketchy part of SF came to visit me in Oakland one time. I showed him some sights, and he said, "If I had known Oakland was like this, I wouldn't have bought in SF." It's about letting people know that Oakland isn't some bombed-out shell of a ghetto full of people who only live there because they have no choice (which is sort of insulting by implication).
I agree. Those comments in that context can be offensive and annoying.

Like others have mention in previous threads, it's also potentially faster to get to SF downtown from Oakland via Bart vs in SF outside of downtown.
 
Old 12-21-2011, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Boulder Creek, CA
9,197 posts, read 12,417,164 times
Reputation: 6261
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kentmum View Post

Now I can't speak for the whole of the UK here, I'm only telling you what I've experienced myself. But people there don't judge other people by their color, I know I certainly don't, so this is a whole new thing for me as well.
We had a Civil War on this side of the pond, so big and deeply impacting that many still refuse to acknowledge that it's over (no, really...spend some time in the Deep South and they'll tell you, often without solicitation). What is often attempted to be kept under wraps, usually in a very sophomoric obvious manner, is the true reason that war was fought over. If we don't know what that was, then the revisionists have succeeded - they're still trying to redo the kids' textbooks to change this, along with evolution.

So yeah, race will always be a big deal in this country, mainly because it is one featuring a very heterogenous population with all identifiable groups of persons constantly running into each other. Diversity makes this country great, but, like democracy, isn't always easy. Other places around the world fail to consider that they criticize from an area where nearly everybody is remarkably similar in many ways, thus more predictable, even "safe".

"Oaktown got thugs, yo". You hear that stuff because it makes for screaming headlines that create tension, fear, anxiety...and sell more than the more mundane goings-on in the affluent areas of town. People have always disparaged Oakland because of USA's obsession with race, and where there a lot of the usual targets of the paranoia (those darned black people), there will be all sorts of hype and hysteria about said disparaged group of the population. Even without crime stats. A deeper investigation reveals the violent crime to be a class/poverty thing, but people still have images of Huey, Bobby and the Black Panthers splashed around whenever the word "Oakland" is uttered, as if it remains current.

Racial overtones have long unnecessarily characterized any description of Oakland, not because the intrinsic citizenry has earned it, but more because of a more widespread historical American accounting of racial issues, all too often hellbent on laying blame squarely on black people. And Oakland has always been a convenient target upon which to pile the hyperbole.
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