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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Oakland Amtrak Jack London Square violence

   
Author Topic: Oakland Amtrak Jack London Square violence
smitty195
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Here is the article:

http://www.insidebayarea.com/news/ci_24381332/oakland-man-assaults-two-women-and-amtrak-employee

I've given warnings before, but it's been a while---so it's time for another friendly reminder. For those who have traveled here and "had no problem whatsoever"----fine, but that really doesn't mean much. The area is extremely violent and crime is way out of control in Oakland right now. Politics, nobody wants to be Chief, lack of money, lack of equipment---all sorts of problems plague the police department and the crime-infested city that is Oakland.

Since The Capitol Corridor trains, San Joaquins, Coast Starlight, and CA Zephyr bus all come through here every day, I just wanted to remind you of how crappy this location is and not to plan things around Oakland if you can avoid it. It's just not safe. I am never un-armed if I know I'm going to Oakland, and I'm still nervous. The bad guys are just shooting people at random as they drive through town---including on the freeway. It's just a mess. So when you plan your trips, maybe go one stop further north to Emeryville, or one stop south to San Jose. Not nearly the crime of Oakland. Just FYI...

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Henry Kisor
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This quantifies the problem:

http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Crime-up-in-Oakland-much-of-Bay-Area-4573391.php

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Gilbert B Norman
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Smitty, is this the hotel adjacent to Amtrak OKJ station to be avoided like the plague?

Official site

'On paper' it would certainly appear to meet the criteria of 'where can I find an inexpensive hotel in Oakland near the station so I won't need a car?'

But real life certainly suggests something else:

Trip Advisor

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George Harris
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Crime in Oakland is such that you can file police reports for minor crimes on line. Start here:
https://reporting.oaklandnet.com/start-report.html
That I find somewhat unnerving that crime is so high in the city that they have set up a means of reporting crimes without involving any live person.

WE learned of this the hard way. Skipping the details, my wife left her purse on the first northbound San Joaquin train when we got off at Emeryville. Did not realize it had not been stuck in her bag of miscellaneous items until later that day. Got a call that her purse had been turned into the station at Oakland. Walk from nearest BART station to Oakland to the station was not through an inspiring area, to say the least.

Purse was minus credit cards, driver's license and cell phone. Considering the likelihood of getting anything back, we did not bother to call the Oakland police. Later the cell phone turned up in Sacramento. Skipping the detail of how, we got a call from the Sacramento Police. They pointed us to the web sited listed so that they would have a police of the original theft to work from. It was quick and painless to make one happen. Once done, the site generated a report number which we then gave to the policeman in Sacramento.

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smitty195
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GBN: Yes, that is the hotel. It is worse that worse. Badder than bad. I know of two specific people who say, "It's not that bad". And my reaction to them is: "What are you smoking??". It used to be the crew hotel for the California Zephyr, but they complained and Amtrak changed to a MUCH nicer hotel---not even in Oakland if I recall correctly. I think it's in Emeryville? And when I say that it used to be a crew hotel, this was 10+ years ago.
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smitty195
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George: Unfortunately, online reporting is here to stay and most agencies use this method. Even my own department. There just aren't the personnel to respond to take those types of calls because there are more pressing matters to get to. Before I went to patrol and became a police officer, I worked in the 911 center (supervised it) and this was in 1992---and even back then in the "CALLS PENDING" section of our screen, there were "cold" calls that would sit for hours....sometimes days. Prior vehicle burglary, prior vandalism, abandoned car, loud music, noisy neighbors....those are all LOW LOW LOW priority calls---and they just sit there. Nobody to respond. When you only have 4 people working the entire city (and you need at least double that), and you figure that one single car stop that has: 1) Suspended license, 2) small warrant, 3) a little dope in the car.....that right there takes one officer out of service for the next four hours. So now 3/4 of the cops are on the street....until a domestic violence call comes out---then we lose two more for a few hours, leaving one cop. That one cop handles NOTHING on his own without proper backup, so the calls sit and sit. It's a problem that is nationwide, not just here. Crime up, money to police down. And people hate police now more than ever. It's a sad situation, and I'm glad I don't have to deal with it any more.
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Vincent206
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There's also the fact that if your home or car is burglarized, the police department won't investigate the incident until the dollar amount of your loss exceeds a certain threshold. In cases where you've only lost a few replaceable things like home electronics or you have to replace a car window, it's much easier to report on-line, get a case number and call your insurance company to begin the claim process immediately. Waiting hours (or days) for an officer to come to your home and write up a report might require missing a day at work. Sure, I'd love it if the police came and launched a full investigation when my TV gets stolen; but realistically, the best thing to do is clean up the mess and move on.
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smitty195
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Unfortunately, that's true Vincent. It didn't used to be this way. I used to take latent prints, submit them, and hope for a hit. Oftentimes it was our "usual" local thieves doing the burglarizing, and we could build good cases against them. But today?? No way....when you've got a desk full of child molestations, rapes, domestic violence, and other serious felonies sitting there-----those other types of property-damage/property-theft calls go all the way to the very bottom of the stack and never get touched. And as you mentioned, those reports are pretty much insurance reports any way and nothing more. All you do with a police report is give the report number to your insurance agent---THAT'S IT. So it's a waste of time to become a secretary for the insurance company. It all comes down to prioritizing, and if the powers-that-be are going to continue cutting staff and creating layoffs and furloughs, that's what'll happen. Look at what's going on with San Jose PD right now----they are a complete and utter mess---and getting worse. I've never seen it so bad.
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George Harris
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Smitty/Vincent: What you are saying is exactly why I did not bother making a police report in the first place. I did not feel the amount involved was worth it. I called the credit card companies, my wife got a replacement driver's license and we called it done. In Oakland? The police have much better things to do. I did not know about the on-line system at that time.

It was only after getting a call from the Sacramento police that we learned about the on-line system. Apparently the wife's cell phone was one of quite a large number of items for this particular repeater. They needed the Oakland police report as part of building their case.

Sorry, but I grew up in a time and place where prisons were work houses and it made people a lot less likely to willingly go back, and the prison system much cheaper to operate. They fed themselves amongst other things. We need to get past these idiots that are much more concerned about the prisoners than their victims so that "career criminals" either find another career or kept where they cannot pursue that career. I have a feeling that the police and court system would be much less overwhelmed if when the criminals are gotten off the street they stay off.

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Mike Smith
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OK, so if someone catches the thief in the act, they should shoot him, then file an on-line report? That would work for me.

And I do not suppose the 100 or so people the dead criminal would rob in the future would not thank me, or give me my steak dinner... [Smile]

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smitty195
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George: Are you familiar with Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, AZ (Phoenix)? The dude is awesome. He runs his jails incredibly well. Everything is "by the book", and the prisoners hate it. I'd be curious to see the recidivism rate in Maricopa County compared to similar counties. Do the crooks really not want to go back so badly that they stay away from crime??
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Railroad Bob
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Smitty, I think most everyone knows "Sheriff Joe!"
(out in the western US anyway)
Whether or not you approve of his methods depends on your politics perhaps. He's A-OK in my book. But by now, his public persona has grown into kind of a caricature, which I think he has "fun" with. The guy loves to push people's buttons and rile them up. But for gosh sakes he seems to get the job done.

Per Oakland, it was the same back in the 80s when I used to turn there on extraboard trips from LAX.
The residential areas around 16th and Wood were pretty rough. We careened through there one night with a drunk cabbie in a shattered sedan, being yelled at by ppl on their front porches. Not the Oakland of Jack London, but he told some great stories about the town in some of his books. There is definitely a "there" there.

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smitty195
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Oh my gosh, the residential area around the old 16th Street station---W O W. Really, really terrible. I used to take the Zephyr out of there for my AmTrips, and I would park in their parking lot long-term (never had a problem---it was fenced in, and they had 24 hour security). But immediately outside the steps of the station, sorry to be blunt, but you would NOT want to be a white person walking around. You'll be dead in minutes. I would get so scared driving through that awful neighborhood just to get to Amtrak, and in those days, I was un-armed. Even being armed these days, it's still scary as you-know-what. Oakland is a very rough town.
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George Harris
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Yes, I am familiar with Sherrif Joe, or at least the things said about him.

By the way, what has happened to the "gun control" I grew up with, which was hit your target and nothing else, and don't waste ammunition?

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Railroad Bob
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Smitty, it's not just the white ppl; I used to be a member of an all-black Amtrak OBS crew that turned in OAK and they were terrified of that particular part of OAK. Race didn't make any difference; if you were from "outside" of the neighborhood, you were not welcome to cruise through that place. Also Richmond was not very pleasant either; it used to be the first stop north of OAK (no longer.) Ppl would take pot shots at the locomotive windows from time to time.

There was a sketchy BART connection at Richmond; not one I would like to use, esp. late at night.

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smitty195
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Interesting, Bob---I didn't know that. I guess the residents knew who "belonged" and who didn't. Gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.

And yes, unfortunately, Richmond is still a complete dump today. Crime is sky high, and homicides are common place. The Chief of that department is a complete and total MORON. One of the worst police chiefs to ever "serve" in the Bay Area. He's tight with Kamala Harris, who is CA's Attorney General (she used to be with the City of San Francisco as city attorney), and is also close with Gavin Newsome. The Chief's "partner" is some high-up muckity-muck with the State of CA as well. That group of uber-liberals haven't the first clue as to how to fight crime. It's pathetic. The cops hate their chief, because he's not on their side---he's on the side of the bad guys (in my opinion). And BTW, I would never ever recommend anyone to make a BART to Amtrak (or vice-versa) connection at Richmond. NEVER!! You're jeopardizing your life if you do that. The Coast Starlight finally eliminated that stop---and wisely so. However, the Capitols still use it daily.

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George Harris
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quote:
Originally posted by smitty195:
And BTW, I would never ever recommend anyone to make a BART to Amtrak (or vice-versa) connection at Richmond. NEVER!! You're jeopardizing your life if you do that. The Coast Starlight finally eliminated that stop---and wisely so. However, the Capitols still use it daily.

So do the San Joaquins. I made that chnage, and did it BART to train so I spent more time hanging around. I did it ONCE, and do not intend to do it again. Not too bad, at least for a mid day transition, but not too good either, and I definitely would not want to do it at night, nor want my wife to do it at any time.
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