Oakland crime victims say 911 response times still lagging

Oakland crime victims are calling on city officials and the police department to do more to address long 911 response times and crimes reported online.

Members of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Oakland came in for worship Saturday to find the front window shattered by a vandal.

"I called 911, they said these things happen all the time, you got to go online and file a vandalism report," the center's director, Rabbi Dovid Labkowski said.

Security cameras captured the crime, showing a person throwing a large rock into the window just after midnight on July 6.


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Labkowski said his congregation is worried this is a hate crime because it's the second attack in two weeks. On June 21 at around 11:30 p.m., another person took a rock and threw it at the center.

"Since our menorah was dismembered on Hanukkah and the perpetrators were not found or not arrested, we feel like it's just almost like allowing people to do this knowing there will be no consequences," said Labkowski said.

The Oakland Police Department sent members of the command staff to the center on the 3000 block of Lakeshore Avenue on Monday afternoon and released a statement in the evening saying "both incidents are being investigated as potential hate crimes."

Police also are asking the public for any video or photos that might help with the investigation.

Labkowski said the crime comes at a great cost to his center. They installed special ballistic glass through a state security grant that costs as much as $10,000 for a window pane, but due to their high deductible, their insurance will not cover the costs of replacement. They are hoping to raise enough money to replace the broken glass through their security fundraising effort.

Near the Oakland Airport, David Michael said he also feels the police are taking too long to respond to crimes.

Michael, who was visiting his mother in the Bay Area, took video as he retrieved a backpack Sunday on Hegenberger Road that had been stolen from a tourist at the 76 gas station nearby.

"We met up, and he said his passport and work computer were missing, and that he called the police," Michael said.

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Michael said police never came, and while they waited, he says another tourist was robbed at the same spot.

"I waited around and no one ever showed up, and I was there an hour. I never saw anyone," he said.

"There's an incident happening every other day. If it's not happening here, it's at the other gas station," said Sam Mardaie, the 76 gas station manager.

Mardaie said Oakland police and city officials need to do something immediately about police response times.

Last Friday, Mardaie also tried calling police after a mob swarmed the gas station store and began scooping up merchandise while employees were inside.

"Thirty to 50 people storming the store whereas only two to three employees, I think that's a high level of crime to me," Mardaie said. "Their response is there's nothing we can do. If you want the report, file it online, unless you want to wait two to three hours."

Mardaie said the crime happened around 4a.m, and police showed up around 2p.m. Friday afternoon.

On Monday, Oakland police patrols were visible in the parking lot of the 76 gas station and driving in the neighborhood. Mardaie and others, though, say more needs to be done.

"We need to see some actions. We need to see some changes, because I mean, we can't really continue to do business the way the place is operating. It's just getting out of control," Mardaie said.