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"MUGGINGS ON ATHOL" IN OAKLAND - A LETTER CIRCULATING AROUND LAKE MERRITT

I was presented with this letter below by a friend who works at a local establishment on E. 18th Street. I later saw this on the Adams Point Yahoo! Message Board. It's about time someone communicated the message of the importance of community in fighting crime, as many people around here don't even know each other's names. The letter also states a painful fact: that Whites are the targets of assault and theft crimes committed by African Americans in the area. For whatever reason that has been true -- but not talked about -- for years. It's got to stop.

MUGGINGS ON ATHOL

Neighbors,

We live on Athol Ave , between the lake and the Parkway. The night before last, as my fiancé made his way home from the theatre at 8:30 pm, two African-American men who had been loitering by the stop sign at Athol and Wayne in front of 228 Athol ran at him across the street and grabbed him. A gun was put to his head, he was choked, dragged down one of these driveways, pistol-whipped, robbed, and forced to the ground. Luckily, he was not killed. You may remember that two years ago, people who resisted muggings in our neighborhood were killed. Two years ago, our roommate was mugged at gunpoint on our front step as he kissed his girlfriend goodnight. Two months ago, our best friend (a male) was housesitting for us. He and another male friend were walking home from Park Ave about 8 pm on a Tuesday night and were jumped by four African-American teenagers in front of the Convalescent Hospital on Wayne . They were held at gunpoint, pistol-whipped, and robbed.

We are faced with two decisions: 1) Either move out of Oakland , or 2) Stay and fight back. We've chosen to try option #2 and have contacted the police, the mayor's office, Pat Kernigan's office, and are now contacting the Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council of the Oakland Police Department to formally organize a Neighborhood Watch Program. We want to try and combat this before we resign ourselves to abandoning Oakland .

Most of us who live in this neighborhood don't know each other and don't know this is happening to each other. I don't know what we can do to solve this program right now, but we can start by getting the word out, being alert, and learning each other's names.

Please:

1) Be extremely careful around here after dark. Watch who's around you, be careful of dark driveways/bushes, don't carry valuables on you, and go out with as many escorts as possible.

2) Report any suspicious people hanging around or scouting our neighborhood to the police, immediately. Get it on record that we alerted the police, regardless of whether the police will actually do anything. The only way we'll increase police patrol of this area is to pepper them with calls and reports. Tell the police if you are accosted or robbed. And tell your neighbors. Again: Get it on record that we alerted the police, regardless of whether they'll actually do anything. The only way we'll increase police patrol of this area is to notify them that we want intervention.

3) Let me know how to notify you when I'm able to schedule a neighborhood crime watch meeting. All information will be kept completely confidential and will only be used to inform you of upcoming crime watch meetings 1-2 times a year.

This threat is totally unacceptable. Please be careful. I will coordinate the efforts to combat this-please, just let me know if you're interested in being kept up to date on neighborhood meetings. You can leave a voicemail message for me on my cell phone at 415-254-2915.

Jolie, 12/16/06
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