Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fruitvale: Safety

By Jessica, Alejandro, Maria, and Lesley

The first impressions you have of Fruitvale in Oakland are negative. The buildings are not nice, and the streets are dirty. In Oakland, people feel there are a lot of safety problems. In some parts of town, a lot of people don't feel safe walking in these streets, especially at night. Like any big city, there is drug dealing, prostitution, theft, and murder.

While walking down International Boulevard towards the Fruitvale district, we saw about two or three police cars drive by. Even though there are police driving around, it doesn't feel like they're doing their job. It feels like that because when something really wrong is happening on the streets, they rarely stop to check to see if everything is okay. It also takes them a while to arrive at a scene when something has happened. In Fruitvale, we also saw some security guards at a lot of shops that we went to. They are there because it is not rare for a store to be robbed. They need that extra security to feel safer and to keep the robbers away.

In Fruitvale, we wanted to interview more people about the violence in Oakland. There is a fire department on Derby Street, and our teacher, Mr. Lee, told us that we should go to the fire department. We nocked on the door and a fire man came out. When we told him about our project, he invited us in so that we could interview the group of them. They were just sitting at the station doing little things, waiting for a call to go to a place where there was an emergency. We started to ask them questions, and sat and visited with them for about twenty minutes. The bell rang for them to go and help someone who had a drug overdose, because they needed the Paramedic there. Much later, when we were back at school at the end of the day, the firetruck pulled up in front of the school. They asked to talk to the principal, and they told him that they had met us, that we told them about our school, and they were impressed with us. They said that they wanted to work with our school next year to set up more internships for our school (we are a health and bioscience school), and even wanted to give a scholarship to us! The principal was very happy about it, and we saw that there are many good people in our city, and good things can happen, too.

In Oakland, in our neighborhoods, a lot of people know us. In Walnut Creek, it seemed like everyone didn't really work together or get to know each other. Something new we learned is that a lot of people in Fruitvale are concerned about their safety and how Fruitvale is a new target zone for robbing people's businesses. A lot of the business owners felt that the police don't care about them, and always try to ignore something that happens because there are so many problems to deal with. The lady we interviewed told us that in Walnut Creek the police come right away when they are called. That doesn't happen here. Maybe because we are a bigger city than Walnut Creek and don't have a lot of police officers to deal with everything. The positive side of Fruitvale, though, is that all the people that work there try to work together to prevent crime. Mostly all of the businesses all have security guards.

We think that, generally, the news just says the negative stuff about Oakland, and not really any good stuff. They should look at the positive side of Oakland because there aren't just bad things here. There are a lot of good things to experience in the East Bay.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HI Jessica, Alejandro, Maria, and Lesley,

Your Fruitvale:Safety Report is really good and very interesting. In Fruitvale you showed us it has a sense of community. They may be poorer, and they may be struggling with safety problems, but they have a quality you didn't feel in Walnut Creek!

All over the world, social researchers and governments are trying to find out how to build community spirit and a sense of belonging. Many more neighborhoods have very little concern for one another...they don't know one another, and they don't cooperate to make the community a better place. There are neighborhoods here in Australia where people are so isolated and disconnected that their neighbor can die alone in their house and not be noticed as missing for 6 months or even longer! Having strong communities is important!

I am excited for you that the fire station guys came back to your school and complemented you and wanted to provide more opportunities to students – even a scholarship. What a great discovery to find good people who want to help the community and make a difference to young people like you.

Can’t wait to hear about your next discovery! Keep researching! The whole world is listening.

Colleen from Australia