Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Oakland Chinatown: Safety

By Daniela, Laura, Alejandra and Vanessa B.

In a 10-minute drive, we went from our school to Chinatown! Chinatown is a place that most of us have at least passed by, if not explored. As we got out of the bus and started walking, it felt pretty safe and calm. Everyone seemed to be very busy, walking fast through the streets and into local markets, restaurants and stores. We passed through a construction area, and as we walked in the actual street there were no cars that were driving too fast, or at least not fast enough to hit us.

Another aspect that gave it a sense of safety is that walking two streets up from Webster Street on Broadway, the police station is right there next to the freeway. They have their offices there, with all of their police cars and motorcycles. Because of this, it was very often that we saw a police car. That means that, if something is occurring in that area, they are able to arrive at the location even faster. In addition, because of the fact that cops are always at that area, we thought that might make it safer. If people know that there area lways cops around that area, maybe they are less likely to rob a place in Chinatown. We found out that the people who lived there didn't agree with us, though.

The place where we met up with our group, on Webster and 9th Street, had two security guards making sure that everything was okay. I honestly felt that Chinatown was very safe at that moment. After conducting interviews, we realized that although we didn’t witness any threats,s tore owners have witnessed a lot of robberies and others that live around that area don’t think that it is as safe as it can be.

One of the people we interviewed in Chinatown was a lady who worked in a clothing store. She was very nice, very sweet and talkative, and full of personality. She talked to us about how she does not feel very safe in Chinatown and in the Downtown Oakland area, especially after 7 p.m., because it isn’t secure enough. She said that she was very scared to walk around alone because of her past experiences and how she got robbed once. A man on a bike rolled up beside her and tried to snatch her purse, she tried to pull it back from him but he succeeded and took off with it. After that, she is terrified of walking around there at all, and says that she always goes home as early as possible, where she actually feels safe. When I asked her what she does to try to keep herself safe, she told me that she tries not to show that she has anything valuable on her, like her cellphone or money hanging out of her pocket, and she tries not to wear anything too flashy or expensive like “Coach purses or shoes” she said.

In Chinatown, we interviewed people about safety and if they think there community is safe or not. We interviewed a librarian about how he feels about this issue. We asked him if he's ever been robbed and he told us he has never been robbed but he has heard that the library has been robbed before. He told us what he does to prevent from getting robbed. Some of the advice he said was not to wear any expensive bags or anything that is expensive that people might want to take from you. He told us how homeless people go inthe library and sleep there. When a homeless person goes in the library they ask them to leave and if they refuse they call the security to take them out. They do this to prevent things from happening.

In Chinatown, we got to interview a police officer and a security about safety. The police officer said that he wasn't scared to walk alone at night because he always carries his weapon with him. He said that it does get dangerous at night at Chinatown. We asked him if he ever got robbed and he said he hasn't but that his family members have. He also said that valuable things shouldn't be left around because people will steal them. We also approached a security officer and when we asked him if we could interview him, and told him that the questions were about safety, and what did he do to keep people safe in Chinatown . He said he didn't know. That was weird because he’s a security officer, so he should know how to keep people safe and himself too. His excuse for not knowing these things was that he barely started that job but we think that that's no excuse.


Anonymous said...

It must have been surprising to learn that people, places, and things are not always as they seem. I am sure that people who live and work in Chinatown have a different idea of what it means to be "safe" than your group does, coming from the Fruitvale/San Antonio area!

Anonymous said...

Hey this article was great :) Just want it known for the record this project helped me get the information I needed. I looked for a contact buttno but there was none found.