Oakland Understates Gang Problem, Documentary Says


A new Discovery Channel documentary on gangs in Oakland shows that there is a disconnect between the Oakland Police Department’s view of gangs and reality on the street, says the San Francisco Chronicle. Police spokesman Jeff Thomason says Oakland has only a half-dozen gangs. What’s even more astonishing is that police say that just a dozen of the more than 200 homicides in this city in 2008 and 2009 have been listed as gang-related killings.

“Gang Wars: Oakland,” a two-part documentary film, says Oakland police have vastly underestimated the gang problem. In the documentary, which focuses on the city’s Hispanic and black gangs, filmmakers report there are at least 10,000 gang members on the streets of Oakland every day of the week. Oakland counts as gangs only groups that fit the state definition. There is a homicide every three days in Oakland, the city has one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation, and there seems no end in sight.

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