The Oakland, California chapter of the NAACP – along with Bishop Bob Jackson – is calling for increased police funding and a state of emergency as crime engulfs the city. They pulled no punches in an open letter to city leaders, writing “Failed leadership, including the movement to defund the police, our district attorney’s unwillingness to charge and prosecute people who murder and commit life threatening serious crimes and the proliferation of anti-police rhetoric have created a heyday for Oakland criminals. If there are no consequences for committing crime in Oakland, crime will continue to soar.”
Crime is indeed soaring in the city. New data shows that robberies and assaults are up 20% and 40% respectively since 2019. In the same time span, homicides have increased 80%, and motor vehicle thefts have nearly doubled.
Unfortunately, the letter is not likely to make the city safer. The Alameda County district attorney’s office issued their own statement in response which said, “We are disappointed that a great African-American pastor and a great African-American organization would take a false narrative on such an important matter.”
The problem with that argument is the NAACP and Jackson are correct. Their letter states, “African Americans are disproportionately hit the hardest by crime in East Oakland and other parts of the city.” As Our America’s Gabe Nadaldes has reported, non-white Americans are hardest hit by crime. They are losing their lives, livelihoods and opportunities at a disproportionate rate. It makes sense that the NAACP is standing up to fight against this issue. It’s common sense, and it’s a popular sentiment.
As a survey commissioned by Our America shows, most Americans are on the same page about public safety and crime – 79% of Americans support stronger sentences for violent criminals while 75% want to fully fund the police to ensure they have the best tools, resources and training possible.
In their letter, they wrote “It is not racist or unkind to want to be safe from crime. No one should live in fear in our city.” They said they would not be “shamed into silence,” which is something all of us can learn from. We can’t stop letting common sense be shouted down by vocal minorities on the fringe. American cities need to put aside inflammatory and divisive rhetoric and focus on solutions so they – and their residents – can flourish.