Bay City News Service—The brazen midday assault of a woman at gunpoint in the garage of her home in Oakland's Oakmore district prompted City Councilwoman Libby Schaaf to host a neighborhood meeting Thursday night on police response times to crimes in the area.
Schaaf said she understands that the Oakland Police Department's staffing levels have been cut drastically in recent years but she still thinks police response times to the incident near the corner of Tiffin and Waterhouse streets shortly before noon on Aug. 30 and to crime in general in the city are "unacceptable."
She said, "There's been an understandable outcry."
According to Leslie Fisher, a leader of the Oakmore district, which is located next to Dimond Canyon Park, the woman was assaulted while placing some items in her car parked in the garage of her home. The woman's son was already in the car and witnessed the attack, Fisher said.
Two men walked into the garage and one of them pointed a gun at the woman, according to Fisher. As the woman screamed, one assailant hit her repeatedly in the back of the head with the gun and then grabbed her purse, she said.
Fisher said multiple neighbors called 911 with specific details such as a description of the perpetrators and their vehicle but police didn't come for more than 20 minutes.
She said information from another neighborhood group indicates that an hour later the same perpetrators attacked and robbed another woman at gunpoint while she was sitting at the Spasso coffeehouse on College Avenue. Fisher also alleged that paramedics were slow to come to the scene to treat the woman's injuries.
Schaaf, who represents the District 4 area that includes the crime location, said she agrees, "Medical attention should have happened quicker." She said the reason police were slow to respond to the situation is that all available patrol officers were on other calls at that time.
Referring to the crime, Schaaf said, "This was clearly a violent incident that happened in front of a child in the garage of a home." She said she also has a personal interest in crime in the area because she lives with her two young children only a few blocks away from where the assault occurred.
Schaaf said police increased patrols in the Oakmore neighborhood earlier this year after 350 people packed a community meeting attended by Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan to complain about slow police response times. But she said there's only been "a very slight decrease" of less than 2 percent in crime in the area in the past six months.
"That's not as fast a decrease as I would like," Schaaf said. She said she hopes police response times will improve in the near future after Oakland gets more police officers on duty after officers complete training at three upcoming police academies. However, Schaaf said that in the meantime, "Our staffing levels over the next few months will be one of the lowest levels in a long time."
Copyright © 2012 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.