March 19, 2006

Death In Oakland

Nearly thirty people have been killed (almost all by guns) in Oakland so far this year, at least two of them within a short walk of where I live. Let's put that in perspective: Oakland's population is a little over 400,000, meaning the murder rate so far extrapolates to an annual average of something (very roughly) like 30 murders per 100,000 people. This is still not quite as bad as it was in 1992 and 1993 when Oakland was one of the murder capitals of the US; but this rate is also at least ten times what it is in Sydney, a violent place by Australian standards, and it's at least double what it was here only a few years ago (and the rate's a bit deceptive — Oakland, like Sydney, has large areas that are almost devoid of crime, let alone murder, so where the murders do occur, the actual rate's a lot higher). Even Oaklanders are starting to worry. Again.


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