Sunday, September 28, 2008

Oakland Setting Up New Prosecution Team

San Francisco Business Times - by Steven E.F. Brown

On Monday, Oakland’s city attorney will give details of a new crime-fighting program set up by the city and Alameda County.

John Russo plans a press conference Monday morning to introduce three criminal lawyers who will focus on “chronic non-felony crimes” in the city. The idea is to focus on lower-level crime that doesn’t always make headlines, but which creates and sustains a negative atmosphere in Oakland and encourages more and more serious crime.

Crimes listed by Russo’s office included disorderly conduct, illegal dumping and drug-related offenses.

Police have often explained this type of crime using the story of an empty building with one broken window. If the window doesn’t get fixed, soon all the other windows will be broken, too.

The so-called “special prosecution team” aims to discourage a flourishing culture of lawlessness that has long angered Oakland residents and businesses. After a string of invasion robberies of local restaurants and other businesses this summer, some restaurants took to locking their doors even during the hours they were open.

Oakland’s police department has three “area commands” and one attorney will be assigned to each command.

Mario José, one of the special prosecutors, speaks fluent Spanish.

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