OAKLAND, Calif. - A huge crowd gathered both inside--and outside--a church in East Oakland Saturday for a public safety meeting.
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, acting Police Chief Darren Allison, and Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price joined community members to discuss crime in the city.
Oaklanders outside chanted and yelled, demanding Mayor Thao come outside to address the number of people who were not allowed into the church. That didn’t happen.
Those who spoke said crime is out of control and urged city leaders to declare a state of emergency.
But the mayor said that is not the answer to Oakland's crime problem.
"Calling for a state of emergency right now when we are doing everything that the order would allow us to do," said Mayor Thao. "Let's call it what it is: political theater."
The mayor said her office has spent over $1 million on a citywide camera system to track criminals, added patrol officer, allocated $1 million for community safety ambassadors in business district, and doubled non-emergency responders to allow police to solve crimes.
Community members say it’s not enough.
Bonita, who has lived in Oakland for over 5 decades, said she's fed up. She's a property manager who has had guns pulled on her multiple times in Oakland.
"I don't have any hope," said Bonita. "I am leaving Oakland, we're selling properties and getting out of here. We're going to Texas. I need some law and order."
Bonita said the mayor has been in office now for 9 months and crime has gotten worse during that time.
Earlier in the day, a cafe that has been in business for nearly 22 years, closed for good. The owner of Rooz Cafe said crime was the reason for shutting down.
"This is it folks, the time has come to call it quits at Rooz cafe," said Steve Ranjbin. "It’s been rough doing business in Oakland with all the nonsense and no accountability from city officials."