Oakland police Chief Chief Anthony Batts, facing budget problems, is being forced to layoff 80 police officers. According to Batts, because of the layoffs, Oakland PD will no longer respond to certain crime reports because of the staff cuts:
Chief Anthony Batts listed exactly 44 situations that his officers will no longer respond to and they include grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism. He says if you live and Oakland and one of the above happens to you, you need to let police know on-line.
Here’s a partial list:
- grand theft
- grand theft:dog
- identity theft
- false information to peace officer
- required to register as sex or arson offender
- dump waste or offensive matter
- discard appliance with lock
- loud music
- possess forged notes
- pass fictitious check
- obtain money by false voucher
- fraudulent use of access cards
- stolen license plate
- embezzlement by an employee (over $ 400)
- attempted extortion
- false personification of other
- injure telephone/ power line
- interfere with power line
- unauthorized cable tv connection
- administer/expose poison to another’s
Oakland will not be the first city to layoff city personnel like police, firefighters or teachers. Even if the city council were to negotiate a deal with the police unions and retain the 80 officers slated for layoffs, Oakland is just one of many. As states and local governments battle deficits in pensions and overall city operating budgets, it’s going to get worse. We’ve reported that some analysts are forecasting that over 2,000,000 public sector jobs will be wiped out in coming months and years.
How bad is it? Well, we have a pretty good idea of how deep the federal government is in the hole – to the tune of roughly $120 trillion if we count social security, medicare and medicaid.
The worst recession since the 1930s has caused the steepest decline in state tax receipts on record. As a result, even after making very deep spending cuts over the last two years, states continue to face large budget gaps. At least 46 states face or have faced shortfalls for the upcoming fiscal year (FY 2011, which will begin July 1 in most states). These come on top of the large shortfalls that 48 states faced in their current budgets (FY 2010). States will continue to struggle to find the revenue needed to support critical public services for a number of years, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs.
As states and cities, and the federal government, spend more money and collect less tax revenue, we can expect critical services across the board to start being cut. The bottom line is that there is simply not enough money to cover the costs.
While we don’t know the inner workings and politics of the current situation in Oakland, we can certainly understand Chief Batts’ position here. If he doesn’t have enough officers to respond to all emergencies, he’ll have to re-categorize what is or isn’t an emergency.
The current list provided by Chief Batts suggests that most of the crimes to which the PD will no longer respond are not violent crimes, and calls will usually come in after the crime has been committed, thus, there is not much the police can do but file a report.
It is, however, troubling, that residents will more than likely see a decrease in police presence in their neighborhoods. Chief Batt has essentially provided criminals with a list of things they can do without having to worry about immediate police pursuit, making the crimes much easier to commit. Anecdotally, we can surmise that, in general, crime will be on the rise in Oakland. Criminals, knowing that police are short handed, and will take longer to respond than usual, will more than likely be willing to take more risks now than ever before.
The end result for the residents of Oakland will be higher crime, perhaps even in violent crimes as criminals get more confident that police will take longer to respond, if they respond at all.
The risk/reward is on the side of those willing to cross the line into criminal activity, and with the onset of severe economic contraction, recession and depression, crime will increase even more.
The only way to increase the risk and reduce the reward for would-be criminals is for residents of Oakland to arm themselves, perhaps even organize into neighborhood crime response groups. It may sound unreasonable right now to have neighborhood residents patrolling or to be on call, but we believe this will become a rising trend in the future, along with contract neighborhood security teams.
For those in Oakland, or any city facing budgetary problems, we highly recommend acquiring self defense capabilities and preparing security layers within your personal residence. As the economy continues to strain and eventually buckle, crime rates will rise. The initial response to crimes against your property or person will fall to the individual.
The residents of Oakland will likely understand this simple cause and effect. As such, we expect sales of shotguns and handguns within the Oakland area (and any city which is forced to reduce police personnel) to increase multi-fold.
Get armed. Get trained. You’ll be glad you did.