Community members concerned with crime vent at Oakland church

Reverend Antoine Shyne is the new pastor at Beebe Memorial Cathedral on Telegraph Avenue in the Temescal district. 

He wants to build back up the parish of 3,000 who once worshiped at his church. 

His parishioners want to come to prayer service on Sundays, but like many in Oakland, they’re scared. 

"People are concerned about wanting to be able to come out to worship, but concerned when they leave the house," he said at a small gathering on Monday night, attended by community members and politicians to address the rising crime situation in parts of the Bay Area.

Marsha Converse came with two neighbors to the meeting. 

Like many in attendance, she’s looking for leaders to lead, and she said she wants to know the plan.  

"What are we doing to solve what’s happening?" she asked. "What are we doing to keep it at bay? What are we doing for our community? Oakland is a really cool town, and it deserves a response!" 

Others like Adrian Hudson, who is a native of Oakland, want more accountability from Oakland police.

"When I go down to Chinatown to buy crab, I see police," Hudson said. "I don’t see them in West Oakland, in East Oakland, in North Oakland."

It was a bloody and violent weekend in Oakland, with seven shootings and three homicides. 

One 18-year-old young woman was killed by gunfire. 

Many in the town say violence and crime is devastating small businesses and communities.

Hudson is a mom and has family who’ve lived in Oakland for generations. 

"I’ve been here since 1965, and this is the worst it’s ever been," Hudson said. "I was here during the drug epidemic, and even then it wasn’t this bad." 

City Councilman Dan Kalb also spoke, reiterating his commitment to city budget and service priorities as well as enlarging collaboration efforts with business improvement districts and faith-based organizations.  

He announced he'd like to see more support from the FBI to help address some of the crime taking place and to offset the load that local investigators are dealing with on a regular basis.

The event drew a smaller-than-expected turnout but there were a few other community leaders and politicians who attended, acknowledging the need to address Oakland’s crime and violence.

Representatives from Alameda County Probation, Oakland police and small business representatives also took time to present to those in attendance.  Other attendees included staff from state Sen. Nancy Skinner's office, as well as from the office of Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover. 

With only an hour and a half scheduled for the meeting, there wasn’t enough time to get to all the questions submitted.  

Some members of the audience left the meeting before it was over, indicating they knew their questions wouldn't be addressed.