Oakland citizens fed up with rising crime and scarce police officers have long discussed hiring private security forces to patrol their ‘hoods. Now, residents of Oakland’s Grand Lake neighborhood are finally putting the tactic to the test. The area’s crime prevention council convinced the beret-clad Guardian Angels to patrol their neighborhood starting today in light of increasing burglaries and robberies. But just how will this all-volunteer, unarmed brigade – which will include some residents – fare against bandits? Should the Berets really patrol a well-to-do neighborhood, instead of tougher areas – such as San Francisco’s Tenderloin and Mission districts, locations of their recent stints? In this article in the Trib, it’s unclear how many of the volunteers will be deployed, or exactly what times they’ll be out, except to say it’ll be “late.” Oakland city councilwoman Pat Kernighan welcomed the arrival of the Guardian Angels, as did OPD Sgt. David Faeth.
The announcement comes the same week that the FBI released its preliminary crime statistics for 2006, which showed a nearly 33 percent jump in violent crime in Oakland compared to 2005, and a 55 percent jump in the murder rate in the same period.