Monday, June 2, 2008

Rockridge: Safety

By Delilah, Amairani, Alejandro and Cinthia

When we first arrived in Rockridge, it didn't really feel like Oakland -- even though it is part of Oakland. But we soon started to see similarities between Rockridge and where we live.

When we interviewed one woman, she said that it was safe in Rockridge, but sometimes she sees people with obvious mental disorders walking down the streets and yelling at people or talking to themselves. Mostly, they don't make her feel unsafe, but sometimes she feels upset. She says that she mostly just tries to ignore it. Generally, Rockridge is safer than other parts of Oakland. She said that people don’t see Rockridge as part of Oakland when it is. People often think that it is part of Berkeley, which is just to the north of Rockridge (only a few blocks) and has a reputation for being much safer. She called Rockridge "a weird bubble" between the two cities.

Another woman said that she feels that people look out for each other in Rockridge to feel safe so nothing can happen. She says that there are often neighborhood meetings about safety, and, when there is an incident, the residents work to increase police patrol. She added that the police actually come when people call for help. Another person that we interviewed said that Rockridge is safe probably because of the residents, and the fact that it feels more like a suburb rather than a part of a big city. He added that it feels safe because there are a lot of resources, such as police officers patrolling the neighborhood, neighborhood watch, and the fact that people actually come out of their house when someone on the street calls for help.

Something that also makes it safe is the people, as there seems to be almost no violent crime or incidences of fighting or personal problems with other people in the neighborhood. Most people seem to be pretty peaceful, just doing their errands at the grocery store, sitting at a cafe or sitting in their front lawn -- not doing anything bad or dangerous.

During our groups interviews, we asked the question "how do you define safety"? We came to the conclusion that the way we define safety is feeling comfortable in our surroundings, and feeling as though there is nothing that can hurt us put us in harm's way. We think that feeling safe is not having to worry about going out and being shot or seeing people fighting. That makes Rockridge a pretty safe part of Oakland, in our opinion.

1 comment:

Mr. Moreno said...

When something goes down in Rockridge, it's usually a big deal (front page news in the neighborhood's newsletter). I remember there being a home invasion robbery in the area, and a armed robbery/murder down the street from where I lived. Other than that, though, it's a very safe place to be. People are constantly out and about at cafes, restaurants, and shops.

Crime in Rockridge seemed to be limited to theft, for the most part. The sad thing about crime and safety in places all over the country is that "poor" people steal from poor people. That's why people have to put bars on their windows. No one wants to do that, but many have to. You don't see bars on windows in Rockridge. It's like this constant struggle amongst those in lower socioeconomic areas. Good, hard-working people have to worry about a small group of people that are willing to steal or harm them. They're all trying to get their piece of the pie, they're just going after it in different ways. It's this individualistic mentality that most Americans have. "I gotta get mine!" And it makes people go against each other. Sometimes it's good--competing against other students to get into colleges pushes you to do better in school. Sometimes it's bad--"I like that iPod they have, so I'm going to take it." Everyone is striving for the proverbial "American Dream." Some people are willing to work two jobs to get it, while others have resorted to other means.

Unfortunately, there's so many factors that contribute to this--educational inequality, ineffective justice system (and lack of rehabilitation system), housing inequality, and more. I'm rambling, but be sure to appreciate all the work that Mr. Lee and Ms. Fitzgerald have done in trying to help you guys see and experience new things (that were a lot closer to home than you thought). And also appreciate Mr. Lee's work in helping his economics students realize that the way to help close the income inequality gap is through education and smart money management.