Oakland Social Workers Too Scared to Work

Today’s Chip Johnson column in the Chronicle, while quite good, underscores a strange phenomenon identified by Express columnist Robert Gammon a few weeks back. While Oakland residents and the media are preoccupied with the problem of violence, crime has actually gone down in the last year. The latest wave of violent crime peaked in 2006, under Jerry Brown’s leadership, and has plateaued at high but stable numbers ever since. But since we’re apparently a little slow on the uptake, we’re all acting as though the problem is getting worse. Hence today’s Johnson column, in which some social workers have decided that there are too many bullets flying around Oakland’s housing projects to come an do their jobs. Again, it’s not a bad bit of reporting, but it feeds into the notion that crime is escalating, when it’s not.

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