The City Council of Richmond, Ca., near San Francisco, appeared last night before an emotional crowd of mourning mothers, outraged pastors, and other residents fed up with violence. The panel was leaning against declaring a state of emergency in the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods, says the San Francisco Chronicle.
The council favored a plan to spend $2 million to hire 15 police officers over 15 months, install surveillance cameras in public areas, and increase the number of drug-sniffing dogs. The state-of-emergency declaration, often a tactic reserved for earthquakes and full-scale riots, would allow police to respond to criminal activity with the “urgency, toughness and consistency required to end wars.” Nearly 600 people packed the City Council chambers and crowded underneath a tent outside Richmond City Hall to urge that something be done about a recent spate of slayings. Richmond was ranked the 12th most dangerous city in the nation last year and the most dangerous in California, based on FBI crime statistics and population figures compiled by the research firm Morgan Quitno.