On the Block

tap1I’ve got a piece in the new issue of the American Prospect, on some innovative anti-crime efforts in Oakland that actually work. In the most messed-up parts of the city, police action alone can’t do the job; nor can well-intentioned community groups. The key, as it turns out, is to get them working together. Easier said than done–community policing schemes have come and gone (and come again) in Oakland. But this new push, which is harder-edged than community policing but has many of the same aims, looks awfully promising.

It’s been raining and the San Francisco Giants are on TV, so the streets are quiet. We’re cruising through East Oakland, one of the most violent parts of a violent city. A knot of drug dealers loiters in front of a housing project, and crackheads sit in folding chairs on the sidewalk. Two teenagers in hoodies saunter by; another weaves back and forth on a small bike. Anthony DelToro gestures toward them: “When you see youngsters like that, all in black, the majority of the damn time they got guns.” He pauses. “This is Oakland — everybody got a gun.”

Read the whole thing here.