On Feb. 10, David Thornton was walking home from Ashby BART at around 11:30 p.m. after attending an event in San Francisco. Heading to his home, where he has lived for more than 10 years, he felt himself being followed. Thornton quickened his step, but then saw another man walking on the other side of the street. A few minutes later, the two men sped up their pace and Thornton was ambushed.

“David did not want to make as if he was coming to the house,” explained his wife, Catherine Huchting, “because he knew our dog would begin to bark and I would open the front door — and he feared one of us would end up dead.”

The two men began to beat Thornton violently with a gun on his chest and face. The pistol whipping was so severe it caused multiple facial fractures. The assailants fled without stealing anything. Thornton was left to crawl home bleeding profusely. He whispered to his wife to call 911.

Eleven minutes later the same two suspects, both described as young African American males, one aged between 15-17 and the other between 20-25 years old, each armed with a gun, were interrupted during another attempted robbery on Prince Street.

“If David wasn’t so tall, he would probably have been beaten on top of his head and suffered brain damage or worse,” said Huchting. “This wasn’t just a mugging. It was savage.”

Thornton’s attack was one of six robberies that took place in south Berkeley in a three-week period between Jan. 22 and Feb. 11 (see map below which documents Beat 11 robberies in that time). The Berkeley Police Department has not arrested anyone in connection with Thornton’s assault. Police spokesperson Sgt. Mary Kusmiss told Berkeleyside they are not considering the six robberies as a series, although the two that took place within minutes of each other on Feb. 10 are viewed as being connected.

Thornton’s vicious assault came one month before the six-month anniversary of the robbery and murder of Fito Celedón who was walking home from a party with his fiancée near Ashby BART on Sep. 12, 2010. Two assailants shot and killed Celedón. An all-day block party was held March 12 to remember Celedón, and the police participated in the hope more information about the murderers might materialize. So far, according to Kusmiss, there have been no new leads.

“BPD takes robbery very seriously and are tenacious in their follow-up,” she said. “Detectives in the Investigation Division/Crimes Against Persons Robbery Detail close a high percentage of cases. It can take time.” Speaking about the Ashby BART neighborhood in particular, Kusmiss said: “BPD has been focusing more attention to the area through both resources that community may see and those projects they don’t.”

Residents of the neighborhood surrounding Ashby BART have been shaken by this particularly violent attack. And there are accounts of more incidents of robberies and muggings.

On Oct. 5 last year, Dai Deh was making the three-block walk home from Ashby BART to his home on Ellis Street, at around 9:30 p.m. He walked past a car with two people inside, and shortly afterwards, was accosted by a young man with a shotgun.

“It seemed they had carefully picked out a house with a garden out front which provided a lot of cover,” Deh said. “They took my wallet and asked which card was my debit card. Then they asked for the PIN number.” Deh had to repeat the number several times after the assailant asked Deh whether he was “fucking lying”.

The two suspects fled by car and the BPD was on the scene within minutes, Deh said. The suspects began to use the debit card soon after the robbery and the police were able to identify them. The two men, aged 23 and 19, were arrested the following day and eventually sent to jail for five and three years respectively.

Thornton’s brutal assault prompted Councilman Max Anderson to call a community meeting on March 9 to discuss safety in this South Berkeley neighborhood. A similar meeting was held last fall in the wake of the Celedón homicide. The March 9 meeting was attended by, among others, Police Capt. Dennis Ahearn, head of the BPD’s Investigations Bureau, the area’s Beat Police Officer Amber Phillips, and Deputy City Manager Christine Daniel.

Much of the discussion centered on steps community members could take to enhance their safety. These included being alert, walking in groups rather than alone if possible, avoiding talking on cellphones or using headphones, and staying away from dark or overgrown spots.

Robin Wright, who lives on Ellis Street, said she is concerned about poor lighting in the area. “The city makes excuses about not having room in the budget for better lighting yet does nothing to reduce costs as other cities are doing, such as raising the retirement age or asking city employees to pay towards their retirement benefits. We pay a Special Assessment on our property taxes for lighting but can’t get better lighting or even brighter bulbs.”

Catherine Huchting noted that there are only street lights on the residential side of the Ellis Street block — none located on the Malcolm X School side of the street.

At the community meeting Daniel addressed lighting issues and the constraints on implementing public safety resources given the city’s budget challenges. Daniel also talked about doing a lighting and tree survey in the affected area.

City spokeswoman Mary Kay Clunies-Ross said: “We review the wattage of the existing street lights to make sure it is at an appropriate level, and we check to make sure all existing street lights are operational. We also review the tree canopy to see if there is appropriate tree pruning that could be done to reduce shadowing around street lights.”

A positive from a negative: a group of neighbors have begun to walk their dogs together in the evenings. Photo: Sarah Van Wart.

“The police did a good job allaying our fears,” said Lisa Caplan, who lives on Harper Street, and who attended the meeting. Nevertheless, after the Thornton attack, Caplan said she felt uncomfortable walking her dog in the evenings.

“There was talk at the meeting of coming together as a community — not to be strangers,” she said. Inspired by this concept, Caplan suggested that neighbors might like to meet and walk their dogs as a group. “We can be a posse, a pack,” she said. The idea met with enthusiasm and, with an exchange of email addresses, the Watchdog Walk Group was conceived that night. One neighbor asked if he could join — even though he had a chicken rather than a dog.

Every evening since then, a group of around 10 people have been meeting at 8 p.m. at the corner of Ellis and Prince at Malcolm X School for an evening dog walk. Caplan said they have dropped in at David Thornton’s home to walk the family dog, Dolly, while he is recuperating.

Robberies in the city as a whole saw a decline last year, from 444 in 2009 to 364 in 2010. Aggravated assaults were about the same year-on-year, from 137 to 140. So far in 2011, there have been 20 robberies in January and 22 in February, according to Sgt Kusmiss. The particularly violent nature of the most recent robbery has the community concerned, however. “This level of brutality is not something we see very often,” Kusmiss said.

Since the community meeting, Max Anderson’s office has sent out an email informing the community of the dog walking group. Calls to his office for a comment have not been returned.

Members of Youth Spirit Artworks work to decorate bollards in South Berkeley. Photo: YSA.

Sally Hindman is the Director of Youth Spirit Artworks which operates in the heart of this community, at 1769 Alcatraz Avenue. The organization provides art jobs and jobs training for homeless and low-income young people. “Many of the robberies we have seen involve young people attempting to get money,” she said. “Youth unemployment is at more than 20% in Alameda County and so we need, more than ever, to find ways to give youth a purpose and a creative outlet.”

Hindman said the 16-25 age group are the most underserved, which is why YSA focuses on them. The young adults, many of whom live in the neighborhood, are shown how to express themselves through art and their work is sold, through auctions, at the YSA studio, and online.

“So many of the youth we work with have post-traumatic stress disorder from having so much violence in their lives,” Hindman said. “They are traumatized and don’t see a constructive solution — except through jobs, which is where we can help them.”

Dai Deh, meanwhile, said he regrets he and his wife did not scope out the area more before moving there in September 2009. “The day we came to look at houses was a sunny Sunday and it was all peachy,” he said. “And the area is full of great people — I’m glad they are banding together now. But if something else were to happen, we’d have to think about our future in this neighborhood.”

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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75 Comments

  1. run? really? perhaps it is best to just give up the money instead of risking getting shot in the back of the head.

  2. The problem is that any Rudy Giuliani-style efforts to actually reduce the crime will meet with complaints from those who worry that it’s hurting the feelings of young black males who bear the brunt of the racially disparate policing tactics.

  3. Until the black crime rate drops (black homicide rate is 700 percent of the white homicide rate), there’s no way around the fact that young black males will be under higher suspicion.

    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/homicide/race.cfm

    Or perhaps you’d like the police to search large numbers of whites just to make the numbers look better?

    Look at the numbers above: 10 blacks, 1 unknown race, 0 other. It’s hilarious/depressing that your first thought is for the tender feelings of young black males rather than the safety of the public at large.

  4. “come on, young people–look what you have to look forward to”?

    eyeroll. ok, chicken little.

  5. And how do you plan to identify said “gangstas” and “thugs” to search? regardless of intent, such a law would end up in practice with police routinely searching innocent young black men, under the guise of reasonable suspicion (even more than they already do).

    i’m in favor of solutions, but will fight for ones that DON’T end up criminalizing young people of color for existing.

  6. I think a good first step would be to ask the Berkeley Police to stop their drive-by policing of the Ashby neighborhood. I have never seen the face of either a Berkeley or BART cop in the hundreds of times I’ve come home on a late night BART train to walk to my house at MLK and Oregon, only the occasional headlight quickly passing by. I would love to see someone in uniform on foot or bicycle.

    It makes me wonder what the Ashby neighborhood might have looked and felt like if that hideous and too large BART parking lot hadn’t displaced the thriving stores in the district. Certainly the void around the station does not contribute to the safety of its neighbors.

  7. I guess I don’t understand what you’re referring to when you talk about “locally, strategically invested savings.” Do you just mean investing in local credit unions instead of big monster banks like Chase, or are you talking about micro-loans?

    Not micro-loans: I don’t think they’d much fit here. I’m thinking something along these lines:

    a) Let’s assume (pretend 🙂 we can get the educated and the monied classes active beginning to seriously think about what it would take to stabilize and make robust the regional economy in the emerging world context. We know that food and fuel security are going to be growing problems. We know that there’s an aging population crisis. We know that on the current trajectory of municipal and school district finances, education and law and order are going to get worse.

    We also know that, intellectually at least, there are a lot of solutions out there we can already see. We can see things like the urban agriculture and perma-culture movements. We know of lots of ways that modern manufacturing technology can help to rebuild much needed import replacement. We can see in poor areas where unemployment and crime are the worst that there is also a big need for investment in basic service businesses. A nice thing about those kinds of solutions is that they synergize: if you do three of them you get more than the sum of their benefits.

    b) Aligning monetary capital for such ventures is something I see having two main prongs: Yes, a participating credit union or several. Also, straight-up investment funds similar to some VC funds (but obviously looking for very different kinds of opportunities and terms).

    Seems like the City could play a big part in this by offering some strategic tax incentives & discounts to new businesses in troubled neighborhoods.

    Very carefully constructed incentives like job creation credits for the “right kind of jobs” are an example of something that could be basically self-funding.

  8. I guess I don’t understand what you’re referring to when you talk about “locally, strategically invested savings.” Do you just mean investing in local credit unions instead of big monster banks like Chase, or are you talking about micro-loans?

    Seems like the City could play a big part in this by offering some strategic tax incentives & discounts to new businesses in troubled neighborhoods.

  9. Sadly, I concur. I guess I was venting about US military policy in the Arab world since Bush I. I sort of took the thread off track.

  10. Typos, me? Never! Actually, no typos in that but yes it was kind of “Bruce’s personal short-hand”. Sorry. Maybe this is better? It’s still a subtle concept, I guess:

    Families and businesses – entities that own stuff and have budgets and such – have to measure their net worth. One way you could do that is to look at how much is in your bank account, at what your house is worth if you’ve got one, at what your “stuff” is worth, your retirement plan, etc. Add it all up and that’s your “worth”.

    Ok, but there are more realistic albeit more complicated ways to look at it. One factor worth considering is the projected value of assets over time. For example, if I have a house I can project a range of guesses about its market value in coming years. I can use that range of numbers for retirement planning. BUT .. if I’ve failed to buy, say, fire insurance (and I’m not rich enough to “self insure” here) …. then I should take my projected range of house values and “discount it”. My house is worth less, to me, because I don’t have that insurance. (At the high end, my house could be worth every penny I expect in a few years in spite of no insurance. At the low end, my house could actually turn out to be a liability – a net loss – because of no insurance.)

    Berkeley based businesses and property owners ought to look at the social conditions in the surrounding region, and their impact on things like crime and quality of life, and factor in a discount based on those risks. So to speak: you might have a very nice situation in North Berkeley, say, but you know if there are a bunch of folks in bad bad shape around the south part of International Blvd. in Oakland as well as up North in Richmond: that makes your North Berkeley holdings distinctly higher risk. Your personal accounting is better if you figure in that risk.

    Lower risk savings is one way to help buffer the downside of civil order breakdown – at least you’ll have some liquidity and an escape if things go bad.

    You can do better though, by being strategic about where you store your lower risk savings. If your lower risk savings are deposited with a lender that is helping to address the polarization of poor vs. rich by making smart loans into poor communities in your region, then you are simultaneously buffering against the risk of social chaos AND investing to reduce that risk. What you lose in weak returns for your secure savings, you gain (and more, I hope) in the health of the economy that immediately surrounds your real property and/or business.

  11. Unfortunately cooking well requires knowledge, time, and equipment that a lot of struggling families just don’t have.

  12. “Families and businesses should be reckoning a high risk premium that grows with economic polarization and should offset that with locally, strategically invested savings.”

    Are there some typos in here?
    Because I’m trying to parse it and it doesn’t make a lick of sense.

    Any chance you could dumb this down to a college graduate level and replace any jargon with plain English?

  13. Cut military funding and spend that money on social programs? As nice as it would be, that’s never gonna happen.

    Obama was as close to an anti-war President as we’re going to get, and so far he’s proceeding as planned with the Bush wars and committing us to new conflicts at the same time.

    But jobs programs, need-based grants, and drug treatment are all good ideas. I just wish there was some way to convince the folks in D.C. of that.

  14. Sharkey, two things: First, I think it is largely the habits and accounting practices of private capital that need to change. Families and businesses should be reckoning a high risk premium that grows with economic polarization and should offset that with locally, strategically invested savings. (Think, if you will, what increasing poverty-driven crime is going to do to property values, for example.) (Aside from money capital, effectively locally invested savings will require careful cultivation of new social capital.) A lot can be addressed in this framework ranging from economic disparity to regional food security and disaster preparedness.

    Second, you’re stuck spending public money either way. More and more police, etc. or…. other alternatives. An easy place to start might be in Berkeley’s approach to economic development which, truly, seems to be all about land banking and development scheme’s that might make Ponzi blush. The West Berkeley Plan changes are dead smack on target. The public debate is about just how far, exactly, to bend over for Lawrence Berkeley spin-off fantasies when, really, we should be talking about self-financing job creation tax breaks for light manufacturing and stuff like that.

  15. I have often wondered why more African-Americans aren’t shopping at the new Bowl. I feel so lucky to have it close. Plus I can get out of there with decent dinner makings for 2 for less than $10. another thing that makes our neighborhood so great.

  16. Well, if we agree that there is a problem, what better use of taxpayer dollars than to protect the taxpayers from the violence that results from the perceived reliance on organized crime? I have absolutely no problem with seeing my federal tax dollars spent on job programs, educational grants, and drug treatment. Especially in light of the cost of our constant misguided military exploits.

  17. As a person of color, I think I can accurately say that no one hates what this small subset of African-American youth do more than the AA community as a whole. My freinds and I talk about who the “enemy” is all the time and it ain’t BPD! Your “white guilt” isn’t helping anyone except the criminals. There are a lot of us who have worked hard to reach some level of economic independence despite the adversity we encountered growing up. WE are the ones who are pissed off! Bad parenting is the root cause of this violence. I see 12 year old boys unsupervised out at all hours of the night. I must agree with James-on-Prince (we must be neighbors!) that “any means necessary” doesn’t any longer apply to AAs overcoming white racism. The enemy is our own unguided, unsupervised, uneducated youth and it’s time to do something about it. If we need to take a more aggressive, even armed stand to prevent these attacks then count me in! Just make sure your “community action” includes the whole community!

  18. Perhaps this person feels like 4 different people. I feel like that sometimes.
    I don’t see what is moderated, but it seems to me that the moderation is moderate.

  19. Thanks for the clarification, Bruce.

    Any suggestions on how to solve the problem, short of using social services & taxpayer dollars to replace the drug revenue?

  20. As a regular BART rider, I just want to point out that BART is probably the easiest mass transit system to ride for free in America. I see fare violators jumping the gates or using emergency exits to enter/exit instead of paying every single day.

    Since BART workers are not authorized or allowed to apprehend fare evaders, the only persons in the system who can actually stop someone for fare evasion are the BART Police, and there are so few of them that they never bother enforcing fares.

  21. I am new to this exact area and would love to get involved in a neighborhood group, but I have no idea how to find one. Any help?

  22. Good discussion all-this is an issue which a lot of us have strong opinions about-thanks Lance.

    JB, on the non-existent infrastructure, I agree on the liquor stores. Neighborhood cornerstores can’t compete with the buying power of local (Andronicos) and larger chains (Safeway/TJ’s). They remain competitive or viable by selling alcohol, basic stuff (milk/eggs), and staying open late. There is great infrastructure in south b-town, including 2 berkeley bowls at Shattuck and at ~6th, the Ashby Bart, easy on to highway 80 (Ashby), MLK Park, San Pablo Park. These parks/stores/bart are as prevalent as in Albany (Albany has no b-bowl). The thing is getting people to use these businesses/infrastructure, which is where there are barriers.

    The issue with the liquor stores-they become a late night hangout for alcohol runs (even for CAL students) but they attract loitering and late night violence. One suggestion-stop selling alcohol after 7 or 8pm by zoning and have enforced loitering rules, particularly for minors.

    I don’t know how you get people to take advantage of Berkeley Bowl-most folks would love to be within 1.5 miles of a Berkeley Bowl.

    BART is too expensive to ride, unless you are commuting long distances, going to the airport, and your job forces you to go with the herd in the morning commute.

    It is also a myth that everyone can afford homes in North Berkeley. I know of very few folks in the higher income brackets of anglo, Indian, or Asian decent who can afford the 500-900k houses found north of Dwight Way or Hopkins. The fact is that most of the folks who live there are long term residents, in way over their head in debt, or in fact make a lot of money as working professionals. I do not know anyone personally, with one exception (who is spread very thin financially), who has been able to buy a home in one of these areas. They are unaffordable to at least 80% or more of typical working and even professional families, which is why many of these folks move to west/south Berkeley..

  23. @Sharkey, that is a pretty creative mis-reading you’ve got there. Here is the context:

    Well, why do the gangs have any loyalty? Why do “those people” cooperate with organized crime? Because unlike the rest of society, organized crime is offering jobs and social services to an under-served segment of society. Ask yourself how many kids eat breakfast and how many grandmas get their pills thanks to the recirculation of crime revenues.
    Why is organized crime uniquely able to do that in the Black community? Because White capital doesn’t much try to provide a realistic alternative. And hasn’t ever.

    It is not “organized crime is a unique phenomenon exhibited only by Blacks”. It is “Among poor Blacks, organized crime has unique power because the competition isn’t even trying.”

    Organized crime has similar unique strength in other racial and ethnic communities where poverty is a problem and legitimate capital and social services turn a blind eye. Poor Hispanics, poor Whites, poor Wsians … whatever you like … where poverty is concentrated and law-and-order society fails to earn loyalty, organized crime fills the void.

  24. JB says: “What about the white Cal student who watched his good friend rape and smother to death a young black girl in a Las Vegas casino bathroom? He kept quiet, and even after he was caught, there was no public outcry to expel such a monster.”

    Yes, there was.
    Unfortunately Cal refused to do anything about it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Strohmeyer#David_Cash
    http://www.nytimes.com/1998/10/04/us/campus-peers-shun-student-who-did-not-report-child-s-killing.html

  25. Bruce Love says: “Why is organized crime uniquely able to do that in the Black community?”

    Since when is organized crime, or gangs, unique to the Black community? Hispanic gangs, Russian gangs, the Mafia? Not Black. Still organized crime.

  26. @Nice, @great censorship, @First Amendment, @Berkeley Born — you’re all the same person. Why do you need to post under four different identities?

    We have no idea what you’re referring to about censorship. We do actively work to moderate comments here on Berkeleyside in a Canute-like effort against the tide. I suggest rechecking your US Constitution. It grants you no absolute right to publish whatever you want on our site (or anyone else’s). Editors and publishers have always had the right to pick and choose what they promulgate.

    The Constitution, however, does allow you to stand on a street corner and exercise your right to free speech, or to start your own website and publish whatever you want without prior restraint.

  27. JB says: “I’m saying that blacks of means, yesterday and today, find it difficult at best, to move into North Berkeley or the hills neighborhoods.”

    Looks like we’re talking about opposite sides of the issue, then. I’m talking more about why middle-class white folks don’t move to South Berkeley than why middle-class black folks don’t/can’t move North.

    ___________________________________________
    JB says: “I infer that you are saying that all people who live in South Berkeley are a) all MINORITIES and, b) are criminal gang-bangers.”

    You infer wrong. Pretty obviously wrong, too. You’re not so much “inferring” as you are flame baiting. Instead of shrieking that everyone who disagrees with you is a racist, why not try to discuss the issue like an adult?

    ___________________________________________
    JB says: “I find your comments racist and inflammatory, and they paint the attributes and the actions of a few on all people of the same race, and on whole sections of town.”

    Since it would appear that you find ALL comments about race “racist and inflammatory” I’m not particularly surprised.

    Sheesh.

  28. I agree with JB’s comment: “Denying that there are larger forces at work, such as continued oppression through institutionalized practices, that effect certain groups more than others is to wear blinders and will ensure a future rife with violence…” But…

    I’ve lived down here for about 7 years and love the neighborhood and have some great (and not so great) neighbors of every ethnic stripe. We need some immediate solutions–like increased police presence and community organizing–to start immediately. We need these violent offenders to be afraid of the rest of us. Through any means necessary. It’s not racist to arrest and prosecute violent criminals and I really believe that we do need to consider the victims of these direct actions before we consider the historical institutionalized unfairness that has occurred. It may not be fair, in the big picture, but we need to try and make these streets safe NOW and not get lost in (academic) historical rhetoric. If jails are all we have, then put the bastards in jail. Anyone who commits these kinds of heinous acts against another human being can die there and we’ll all be better off for it. For the community to protect thugs against the police is just ridiculous and suicidal. I only have sympathy for those who are trying to make positive, non-violent change to this community. Life is too short to worry too much about these animals who bash-in the heads of young dads. It doesn’t matter what their ethnic background is. Action now.

  29. Berkeley Born says:
    March 27, 2011 at 10:27 am
    “JB-I agree that the crack epidemic trashed these neighborhoods. To blame institutional racism on there current state is BS. Please explain your logic. Do the mythical powerful whites enforce the No Snitching Policy, which hampers police efforts to solve these recent crimes, do they (white people) try to intimidate people in the neighborhood who call police?, do they profit from the sale of crack/drugs, do they organize the gang culture that plagues these neiborhoods-NO. So why are they now for supposed to shoulder responsibility and guilt of trying to fixing these problems, since you claim these problems were caused by racism? Is the African American community inmcapable of helping itself? That sounds like you are requesting support based instituionalized racial paternalism…..”

    Not requesting support, trying to exert that the crime is rampant because, by and large, the neighborhoods have been ignored. MANY, MANY, “good” people live there and have raised families there. Infrastructure is non existent, collasped and has been replaced by liquor stores. When residents have complained about crime and tried to organize or get the city to address crime in these neighborhoods, nothing was (is) done OR all of the black and brown residents, and not just the perpetrators are labeled as criminals or considered suspicious.

    Regarding just who profits from crack and drug sales… Are you joking? The culture of not snitching… I guess you conveniently forgot about the white BHS student KILLING a Latino youth at a house party a couple of years back, and not one student or parent who knew what he did, said a thing. I guess his “redeeming” qualities overshadowed his one-off behavior? What about the white Cal student who watched his good friend rape and smother to death a young black girl in a Las Vegas casino bathroom? He kept quiet, and even after he was caught, there was no public outcry to expel such a monster. Nor is there a blanket cast over all individuals who share the same neighborhood or skin color of those bad guys. In my opinion, gang culture is thriving because of mass media commodifying it for incredible profit. White youth are implicit in its profitability and proliferation.

    I am asserting that the rise in crime is directly related to the balance of power: those in power don’t care about it, until it effects enough of those in power, to do something about it. NIMBYism at its finest.

    Yes! Let’s clean up the crime, and restore peace to these neighborhoods. Let’s not cast racial stereotypes and either lock everybody up of a certain skin color and impose inappropriately harsh and unequal punishment, OR turn our backs and ignore it because “it’s not my neighborhood, therefore it doesn’t concern me.”

    Good and bad people, and every kind in between, come in all skin hues and live in all neighborhoods. Just, some neighborhoods are politically connected and supported. And some neighborhoods are, un-naturally, majority white, affluent or not. When these residents cry for help, their cries are answered. Denying that there are larger forces at work, such as continued oppression through institutionalized practices, that effect certain groups more than others is to wear blinders and will ensure a future rife with violence.

  30. @Berkeley Born, you asked:

    Wow-that was quick moderator…I’ll rephrase, who is responsible for implementing the no snitching policy that hampers police investigations, organizes and profits from the sale of crack in these areas, and intimidates neighbors who try to stop these things? I can’t see how these problems can be addressed from the outside when they are supported from the inside..

    As long as you insist on maintaining that “outside” / “inside” distinction as essential, you are perpetuating the problem. As long as you think this is a simple-minded ethics difference between separate cultures, you’re going to keep missing the point.

    “Who is responsible,” ultimately, is very big business organized crime. Who wholesales the drugs? Who wholesales the weapons? Who has the king’s power of life and death in certain disputes? A few, big sprawling syndicates.

    Well, why do the gangs have any loyalty? Why do “those people” cooperate with organized crime? Because unlike the rest of society, organized crime is offering jobs and social services to an under-served segment of society. Ask yourself how many kids eat breakfast and how many grandmas get their pills thanks to the recirculation of crime revenues.

    Why is organized crime uniquely able to do that in the Black community? Because White capital doesn’t much try to provide a realistic alternative. And hasn’t ever. What you are looking at in the crime trends isn’t some cultural difference over ethics — it is an existential challenge to the state by an emerging, armed economic powerhouse (much as you see in Mexico these days).

    Incidentally, the dynamic I’m describing is very much a poverty related thing more than a race related thing. Concentrated White poverty goes right down the exact same path.

  31. @Nice, @great censorship, @First Amendment, @Berkeley Born: It’s unclear what your comments are referencing. What “censorship” are you referring to?

  32. No, Sharkey, I’m saying that blacks of means, yesterday and today, find it difficult at best, to move into North Berkeley or the hills neighborhoods.

    What about black middle class folk, who live there due to” segregational forces”? I infer that you are saying that all people who live in South Berkeley are a) all MINORITIES and, b) are criminal gang-bangers.

    Whites have always had the power and option to buy wherever they can afford to live, and in lots of cases, even in places where they can’t.

    I find your comments racist and inflammatory, and they paint the attributes and the actions of a few on all people of the same race, and on whole sections of town.

    Even if you don’t agree with me at all, or with all of what I’ve posted, Bruce Love very clearly supported most of the flavor of my comments.

  33. JB says: “Berkeley neighborhoods, like tracking in our schools, in my experience, has little to do with financial means or desire to live in a certain place, but more to do with racism, overt and institutionalized.”

    You’re joking, right? You don’t *seriously* think that wealthy middle-class white folk aren’t buying homes in South Berkeley because they don’t like MINORITIES, do you?

    White middle class folk stay away from South Berkeley because of the CRIME and the gang culture, not because of the color of anyone’s skin.

  34. I agree that the best answer is to provide safe, and productive educations for all. I think that the aggressive tracking system in the Berkeley schools (alive and well from pre-school on, though “hidden” until it is legal to do so), is no small part of today’s problems, both in neighborhoods, and schools. Years of neglect is coming home to roost, so to speak. BTW, tracking, as it is applied, in my experience, has LITTLE to do with ability, intelligence, or potential, and most to do with racial grouping. I say this as both a product of the Berkeley schools, and a parent of current Berkeley students, whom I must advocate for vigorously to ensure their educational and physical safety at school.

    The white guilt expressed in the BHS article, as I read it, is largly expressed by the current students who are idealists due to their youth, and one or two idealist adults, who might have white guilt, but that is hard to say. However, the majority of posters seem to believe that all black and Latino people are gang-bangers, thugs, drug addicts, violent, drop-outs, or could care less about being productive citizens or obtaining a great education or even value their personal safety. And many used the discussion as a way to advocate for MORE segregation, oh, I mean “tracking,” and subsequent disenfranchisement of these groups, and not to only deal with the individuals involved.

    In this discussion, broad strokes against groups of people and neighborhoods are being leveled. White guilt, in this case, implies that the “bad people” of these neighborhoods not only deserve to live in these conditions, but they are this way by nature, and the “good people” who are upright citizens, have turned a blind legal eye to the bad people as a way to right the wrongs of slavery and oppression.

    Our jails and prisons, inculding juvinile detention facilities, and BTech (formerly East Campus) and Special Education classes, can factually attest that this is not the case: white guilt has not caused the law to be soft on criminal behavior, but it is liberally applied against certain people, and many innocents are caught in it’s nets. Crime is rampant in some neighborhoods because, unless it effects those in power, it is allowed to fester and grow.

    Also, white individuals who perpetrate serious violence and participate in criminal behavior remain just that– they are seen as individual cases, and redeeming qualities are found to justify lighter or more lenient punishment, in many cases.

    And the reason that some neighborhoods are primarily black or non-white, and others are white, is another discussion, yet is relevant to my point. Berkeley neighborhoods, like tracking in our schools, in my experience, has little to do with financial means or desire to live in a certain place, but more to do with racism, overt and institutionalized.

  35. Laura Menard asks:
    “does anyone remember their was a ice cream shop on Sacramento St. Imagine.”

    Hell, some of us even remember when there was a *Safeway* on Sacramento Street!

  36. @JB has the right idea, I think. I explained something in comments on another post that I’ll repeat here but (slightly) more succinctly:

    Blacks as a group benefited disproportionately less than Whites from post-WWII economic growth due to deeply institutionalized racism. Civil rights reforms eliminated one important form of that institutionalization and began to fix the problem but….

    Very shortly after civil rights reform, we entered a period of economic history that might as well be called the War on the Middle Class. For the past 40 years, middle class wages have stayed flat when adjusted for inflation, while essentials like housing, healthcare and higher education have become more expensive much faster than inflation. At the same time as the middle class was become effectively poorer, the distribution of wealth skewed wildly, concentrating ever more wealth in ever fewer hands.

    Whites tend to help Whites more than others and Blacks tend to help Blacks more than others (with things like money and jobs). Since Whites were better positioned at the start of the War on the Middle Class, they’ve felt the impact less. Just as Blacks benefited less from mid-20th century economic growth, they were disproportionately harmed by the War on the Middle Class.

    Black unemployment has throughout that time been disproportionately larger, creating an economic vacuum into which organized crime inevitably flows. Large amounts of poverty plus organized crime is fertile grounds for things like the crack epidemic.

    Organized crime’s power in the Black community permeated many aspects of life and helped to generate a kind of White Panic that has characterized a lot of politics over those 40 years. The main response from society as a whole has not been investment in economic development that might help Blacks but, instead, mainly the hyper-criminalization of Black communities. (They say that these days a young Black man is more likely to have spent time in prison than to be employed. And the unemployment rate for young Black men is disproportionately high.)

    Prisons further cement the economic and social service ties between organized crime and a Black generation unlikely to find much support or opportunity within the law-and-order society.

    Consequently, while turning a blind eye to crime is not right, neither are forms of stepped up enforcement that aim mainly at pushing more and more Black men into “the system” before their crimes can escalate. The more pushed into the system, the more that will eventually have to be put in prison, and the worse that Black on Black and Black on White crime will become. Progressives are not suffering from “White Guilt” they just have a case “Situational Awareness Realism”. Reactionary crack-downs make the dangers worse, not better.

    I wish there were some way to convert all of the indignity and rage behind accusations of “White Guilt” and so forth, and turn it towards realist causes. As one example, Berkeley’s economic development plan, these days seems to involve encouraging real estate banking and perhaps a few high tech labs that will do little for employment or local circulation of money. Meanwhile, surrounding the site of that economic development plan, we have massive amounts of poverty and unemployment and their spouse: the street face of organized crime. This is one area where Berkeley has a kind of “identity crisis” because in the popular narrative it can only seem to see itself as an ivory tower, disconnected from the conditions 10 miles north or south, an oasis of “innovation” and high real estate values surrounded by conditions mainly to be treated by exclusion (from consideration, from physical impingement, from economic participation, and so forth).

    The outrage is just misplaced, in my view. If you want to make progress against this kind of street crime in Berkeley, a good place to start might be in trying to build capital (monetary and social) for community-driven economic development in, say, south west Oakland.

  37. Moderator, here is your reading assignment for the day:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Its written in a document called The Constitution.

  38. sucktash,

    let’s not forgot the community organizing that occurred for over 15 years DID include folks of color, all ages, both recently moved into the neighborhood and long time residents. When it came down to who would take the heat publicly and in court, you are correct the racial balance changed.
    But we were always cheered on and supported by those afraid of coming forward.

    Should they have been afraid, YES. Those of us who did the heavy lifting experienced retaliation.

  39. Wow-that was quick moderator…I’ll rephrase, who is responsible for implementing the no snitching policy that hampers police investigations, organizes and profits from the sale of crack in these areas, and intimidates neighbors who try to stop these things? I can’t see how these problems can be addressed from the outside when they are supported from the inside..

  40. It’s “institutional racism” that began this process (over 40 years ago) but it’s the current “white guilt” that keeps white leaders from doing anything. What are white Berkeley politicians most afraid of? Any organized group of angry African-American citizens. This is why the Lenora Moore situation lasted so long. Community organizing is the only way combat thugs. You see, it’s a careful combination of racism, thuggishness, shame within the black community and white guilt that keep these neighborhoods dangerous. How many proud black citizens are afraid of looking like uncle toms if they stand up with white citizens and go on dog walks with them? I’m willing to bet there’s such a thing as black guilt too. (BTW, I am white and have lived in the west side for 10 years)

  41. JB-I agree that the crack epidemic trashed these neighborhoods. To blame institutional racism on there current state is BS. Please explain your logic. Do the mythical powerful whites enforce the No Snitching Policy, which hampers police efforts to solve these recent crimes, do they (white people) try to intimidate people in the neighborhood who call police?, do they profit from the sale of crack/drugs, do they organize the gang culture that plagues these neiborhoods-NO. So why are they now for supposed to shoulder responsibility and guilt of trying to fixing these problems, since you claim these problems were caused by racism? Is the African American community inmcapable of helping itself? That sounds like you are requesting support based instituionalized racial paternalism…..

  42. Crack and crime did push out the middle class in south Berkeley, does anyone remember their was a ice cream shop on Sacramento St. Imagine.

    The same exodus is happening in Oakland today, the 2010 census indicated a 25% decline of blacks residing there stating crime as the primary reason for leaving Oakland.

    he white guilt others have alluded to is amply described in numerous posts responding the crisis at BHS using racial paternalism and racial relativism to explain away criminal behavior. Gang crime, both black and Latino, is the result of multiple factors, including raising youth in schools where gangs have power and influence.

    Not providing a healthy and safe neighborhood or school regardless of income level equally is a perfect example of racial paternalism.

    The best intervention for kids from tough neighborhood is a safe productive school environment.

  43. It’s institutionalized racism and not “white guilt” that has created the problems that exist in certain crime ridden neighborhoods of Berkeley. And it is neglect, NIMBYism, and political alienation and unconcern, that has fostered a rapid decline and descent into today’s level of crime. Some of the posts are racist in nature about the residents of these neighborhoods and fear-mongering. Posters who respond to the contrary, actually, they, are shouted down (or simply ignored and talked over in this discussion and others on Berkeleyside).

    I am near 50, was born and raised in Berkeley, and am also black. These neighborhoods have not always been this way. As I was growing up, and through the 1980’s, these were thriving black middle class and working class, family oriented, neighborhoods and communities. The rapid descent into crime ridden neighborhoods coincided with the crack epidemic and the rise of gang culture. These events were exacerbated by exploding real estate values and an economic decline which hit these residents hardest. These facts, coupled with older homeowners either dying, moving away or losing their homes, AND city neglect and/or lack of concern and response to residents for what was happening in these black neighborhoods created today’s situation.

    People only started to take notice of the rise of crime and violence, when home values started making living in more desired neighborhoods economically impossible or difficult. When I go to my parent’s home in West Berkeley, the neighborhood is almost unrecognizable and scarey.

    I hope the discussion will help to bring normalcy and peaceful living back to these areas, although, sadly, many black residents have now gone. Just don’t try to say that it’s white guilt that created today’s crime rate. It’s more like white people using their political might to bring resources and prosperity to “their” neighborhoods, while disenfranchising and ignoring the rest.

  44. I agree with Berkeley Born, Berkopinionator & several others posting here.

    There is a serious issue of white guilt in Berkeley and it has an enabling effect on crime in the city. We’ve been struggling with these same issues in West Berkeley, but every time a core group of fearless people stand up to say “enough” and start talking directly about the issues, we’ve been ruthlessly attacked on multiple fronts for being racist, fascist, & any other type of negative name calling Berkeley residents can think up. Kudos to many of you for standing up and publicly discussing a serious problem within our city.

    As a side note — some that think people moving into these neighborhoods should “know better.” However, the BPD under ex-chief Hambleton was not accurately reporting crime stats. Before moving to West Berkeley, my wife and I did our due diligence using BPD statistics (Community Crime View – http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=7060) and they told us that there was more crime in the Elmwood neighborhood where we used to live, than in the West Berkeley neighborhood where we chose to buy a house.

    Since we bought property in this supposedly lower crime neighborhood we’ve struggled with a variety of crime problems. Highlights of the crime we’ve had to deal with include, but are not limited to out of control drunken street parties, vandalism, hookers turning tricks in driveways (leaving behind used condoms), H2O Waterfront gang dealing crack cocaine, slum lords allowing properties to be used as drug houses, a City of Berkeley owned property that was being used as a meth drug lab next door to a nursery school, Nortenos gang members who are known for their violent muggings and car theft ring, countless instances of firearms being discharged in the street, including handguns, shotguns, a European made military assault weapon (TEC-9), and the AK-47 gang retaliation murder in May 2009 that occurred as part of the gang war between H20 Waterfront and a gang in Oakland.

    So…when the truth of crime statistics is unobtainable, making an educated choice on where to live has been a Berkeley version of Russian Roulette.

    Fortunately, BPD now has a Chief that came from outside of the department and who seems to have an interest in transparency regarding crime stats and the problems that create crime. I’m cautiously optimistic that Chief Meehan will have a positive impact on the ability of his department to improve the lives of Berkeley residents by making problem areas far safer than they were in the past.

  45. @ berkeleyboo — Well, considering that several of my friends have been mugged and/or beaten upon exiting the Ashby BART station at night, I’d say it might be a little bit dangerous.

  46. I just wanted to add that we shouldn’t be too quick to bash new homeowners in that neighborhood that buy in without understanding the area’s history of violence.

    While I was helping a friend house-hunt in Berkeley a few years ago we went to look at a few homes in that neighborhood, and the Realtors in charge of the properties blatantly lied to him about the neighborhood’s history and the amount of crime that goes on there.

  47. I fully support this neighborhood and look forward to helping out in any way. Whoever out there is organizing the community I hope to get a flyer in my mailbox on Fairview Street.

  48. Crazy times. Our leaders are corrupt. Lovely role models.
    Cuts to education everywhere-, university and college tuitions so high many will not be able to finish their education. Few jobs. Many desperate people. Support systems slashed, but not the wages of those deciding to slash the support systems.
    So come on, young people–look what you have to look forward to.
    Self-defense classes for everyone, and carry pepper spray at all times. (Don’t forget to check it every six months or so, it evaporates or something, and the button can stick)
    Our food supply, already genetically polluted, will be thoroughly contaminated within a year, now that GMO alfalfa, sugar beets and fuel corn have been deregulated and can be grown anywhere. Studies are showing eating GMO foods results in smaller brains
    (as well as thyroid problems, asthma, inactive sperm, non-viable ova, auto-immune disorders, erectile dysfunction…and blue testicles.)

  49. Ashby Bart “dangerous” after Midnight? Are you guys dreaming? And can someone define “White Guilt” for me, and how that pertains to Berkeley Politics?

    Berkeley Born, are you sure you were not born in Oakland?

  50. Tracey Taylor – The information was right in the article:

    “Thornton was left to crawl up his garden path bleeding profusely. He whispered to his wife to call 911.

    Eleven minutes later the same two suspects, both described as young African American males, one aged between 15-17 and the other between 20-25 years old, each armed with a gun, were interrupted during another attempted robbery on Prince Street.”

  51. I think the point that Berkeley Born and BerkeleyHigh 1999 are trying to make is worth acknowledging. These neighborhoods have been blighted, violent, and more to the point, ignored for the almost 40 years I have lived in Berkeley. These incidents are exactly what you’d expect in neighborhoods experiencing rapid and recent gentrification. I do not in any way wish to belittle the horrible nature of the crimes, nor throw up my hands and claim it’s a lost cause. On the contrary, the community and the city as a whole shouldn’t take advice from every quarter and work to make everyone safe. But young, affluent, professionals living in these neighborhoods should understand that they are, in a sense, pioneers into long time troubled neighborhoods. As long as your eyes are open and you’re willing to move forward from here, awesome. But don’t come crying about how you didn’t know what you were getting into with a sense of entitlement to safety akin to Lafayette. That’s just plain naivete and selfishness.

  52. Thank you, Berkeleyside, for this great article. David Thornton is a lovely and delightful person, a fantastic father and husband, a friendly neighborhood. What happened to him shouldn’t happen to anyone, I don’t care what time of night or where.

    To respond to the comments of Berkeley Born and Berkeley 1999, you say everyone knows where the dangerous areas are, as if that means we should write off those areas of the city, leave them to descend into their violent ways. As if the people who choose to live here, as well as the people who have little choice but to live here, deserve whatever we get. As if anyone dumb enough or unlucky enough to live on this side of town doesn’t deserve to be safe. I disagree. Berkeley authorities and city leaders, as well as all of the citizenship of Berkeley have a responsibility to everyone, in every neighborhood, who lives here. We pay taxes, work here, our kids attend the schools, we buy our groceries at the local stores, we come out for the Juneteenths and the Earth Days and the farmers markets. Just like residents of any other neighborhood, we are a part of what makes Berkeley what it is.

    I am thrilled to see my neighborhood organizing, and am eager to continue to be part of that process. I love living in this diverse, complex neighborhood, and deeply believe that it deserves to be protected, and deserves to thrive as much as any and all other Berkeley neighborhoods.

    What I don’t love is a general tolerance on the part of the rest of Berkeley for the violence that wells up from time to time, on the South side of the tracks.

  53. Berkeley1999-is right. You could ask current BHS students to draw a map of areas “safe to walk alone after 9 pm” and I bet the majority of them would all draw the same map with +/-10% consistency. Talk and listen to the students at Berkeley High, they know where the problems lie and where effective solutions will come from (and its probably not from the weekend warrior “do gooders” with salvation complexes who want to “help” urban youth”).

    Go jackets!

  54. Thanks, Berkeleyside, for such an informative article. The link Tracey Taylor provided above to the City’s website says that the credit card thieves were from Richmond. Also on that page are four other teenagers arrested for assaults and robberies in Berkeley and only one of them is from Berkeley. From this I conclude that programs targeted to Berkeley youths is not going to help this particular problem very much. I agree with the neighbor who was quoted in the article: if there isn’t enough money for more street lights and more officers patrolling this area, let’s get rid of some of the luxuries we do have enough money for. Are City employees still getting a free Y membership? That doesn’t seem like a fair trade-off to me.

  55. Neighbors need to install cameras covering their front porches and the sidewalk and street. The city is OK with installing traffic cameras to catch driving infractions but not neighborhood cameras to catch muggers and murderers. We wouldn’t want to infringe on the rights of violent criminals.

  56. I agree with BerkeleyBorn. Anyone from Berkeley (grew up in Berkeley) that I know would not walk around south of ashby bart close to midnight. and if it was necessary, they would be ready to run and scanning all directions a block in every direction every 10-15 seconds.

    Not that I have ANY siding with the muggers.

    Ashby bart is always creepy at night, as anyone can see you from the edges of the station as you walk out all alone for the length of the deserted parking lot.

    I second that beat cops walking maybe just friday and saturday ngihts, or sporadic undercovers lke were used in north Berkeley would be ideal.

  57. Undercover cops should be utilized in these neighborhoods on a regular basis….leaving the BART station and walking around as if they were ‘going home’ for several months later in the evenings.

  58. Sally,
    Thanks for providing the information about the percent of residents in your program.

    I hope you will concede that this statement is not quite accurate:
    “So many of the youth we work with have post-traumatic stress disorder from having so much violence in their lives,” Hindman said.

    PTSD affects far more people than just youth, in particular victims of violent crime. I know you well enough to understand you will agree. My peeve is with the typical approach of youth programming, such as what occurred at the YAP program a few years ago. Local kids were handpicked to participate in a violence prevention program; the hook was receiving a Foot Locker coupon for $50 for a few hours of their time. At the same time local teens who actually suffered violent crime didn’t receive justice or merit a booby prize. As usual this program avoided the discussion about the differences between inter-racial and intra-racial violence even though black- on- white incidents against locals were significant in brutality and number. Berkeley ideologues love to promote restorative justice notions, but in Berkeley they twist social justice upside down till it is unrecognizable.

  59. Forgot to express my hope that the Ed Roberts Campus and Ashby BART will take steps to increase security by installing cameras and brighter lighting nearby.

    Thanks Berkeleyside.

  60. I’d also like to add that if the BPD and City aren’t going to (or can’t) do anything about this, perhaps groups of concerned citizens need to band together and start patrolling the streets themselves.

  61. Responding to Laura Menard’s comment–to clarify–90% of Youth Spirit’s participants are Berkeley young people. Also our program involves youth in both paid jobs and in stipended job training.

    YSA works with youth on probation, who have diagnosed mental health challenges, who are homeless, in transitional housing, and in foster care, as well as other low-income young people from Berkeley High School and Berkeley Technology Academy.

    I would add that Youth Spirit seeks members for our dynamic board of directors and has many opportunities for volunteers! If you are interested in participating we’d love to talk with you: 510-282-0396.

  62. Wonderfully in-depth article about a serious problem with robbery and assault in the Ashby BART area.

    Perhaps the City of Berkeley needs to consider allowing citizens to legally carry concealed weapons.

    I do not own a firearm or particularly like them, but unless citizens are allowed to arm themselves against criminals these thugs are always going to have the upper hand.

  63. I appreciate the length and depth of this article. It goes beyond the 5 W’s to discuss solutions, and so eclipses traditional press treatment of crime in a positive way. Articles like these represent the best of new journalism, and vest Berkeleyside with a role in city affairs. Thank you, and keep up the good work.

  64. It would be nice to see meaningful action to address the danger from the city and our councilmember beyond possible tree trimming, asking us to turn our porch lights on or calling a meeting. For heaven’s sake, there was the murder of Fito and a violent beating!

    There have been other robberies beyond the perimeter of the Malcolm X elementary school. Most are committed by young men in pairs or groups wearing the anonymous “Hoodie” uniform. Take extra caution around young men especially if they are wearing a hoodie.

    In one case 3 young men, the youngest described as 8-10 years old committed a robbery. Wearing Ipod headphones in the area is dangerous. How about meaningful actions addressing truancy? Oh yeah, BUSD has it’s hands full with guns being brought to Berkeley High.

  65. Max Anderson did not call a meeting until the neighborhood list postings complained enough to make him look bad.

    As Sally knows her program does not reach the hardest players living in the area, nor is there any evidence that participating in a stipend youth program reduces juvenile crime.
    I believe Youth Arts hires kids from all over Alameda County not just Berkeley.

    I was the chair of ROC for most of last decade, and know what is involved in community improvements efforts. Beat 11 (Lorin) does not have the history of community organizing that Beat 12 does (north of Ashby, same issues, mirror beat).

    This goes back to the mid 80s when mayor Hancock tried to create a redevelopment zone in south Berkeley. The residents of the northside of Ashby led the opposition, and then organized the successful public nuisance case against the landlord on Russell St for drug problems, the Lew case. This is the legal precedent for multi-plaintiff nuisance cases neighborhoods use today.

    The political differences between the adjacent neighborhoods has proven over time to affect outcomes. However both areas suffer the foolishness of city politics and neglect.

  66. I would love to see some stories about the victims taking some action in response. If you feel you are being shadowed, run, and don’t be ashamed about it. And don’t worry that the person following you may be innocent – it isn’t your task to keep their feelings intact – your primary task is to ensure your safety. Run, scream, attack, use surprise back!

    I was at Indian Rock one night many years ago when I was accosted by a man with a gun asking for my wallet. I grabbed my then-girlfriend’s hand and yelled run. We ran and got away. Could have ended badly. But if we had been easy victims, more perps would be emboldened by lack of pushback. Just enough pushback is needed to get prospective perps to think twice. Could lead to an escalating cycle of violence, true. But you also have to live with the “coulda shoulda” of not doing something. Think ahead of time about what you will do. The more you know about how these attacks happen, the more you can do.

  67. How about the two guys convicted of using Mr. Deh’s credit cards? We need an online hall of shame for these criminals.

  68. What are the names of the 19 and 23 year old punks that were busted using Mr. Thornton’s credit cards after they robbed him? Lets see mugshots of the criminals on Berkeleyside. They earned and deserve public humiliation and shame. They are not juveniles and they have no right to privacy.

  69. Its time to stop worrying about upsetting the the thugs terrorizing our community and always trying to be politically correct. The police have the right to stop and frisk persons they contact persons reasonably suspected to be criminals. Gangstas should be stopped and frisked when they engage is suspicious activity. They should have their illegal weapons taken away and go away to prison. The community should demand and support more proactive police work. We have DUI checkpoints for alcohol. Why not implement safety checkpoints to take away guns from gangstas before they attack? Are law abiding citizens going to give up their community to thugs? The facts of these attacks are outrageous and intolerable.

  70. Berkeley politics are still so poisoned with white guilt that they cannot effectively deal with this neighborhood. It has been a hotbed of crime for decades and only during the boom, when housing prices spiked and it became an “affordable” area for working professional families who moved in not knowing the history. Those from B-town know the areas that have had issues-maybe local Berkeleyit’s can become real estate buying consultants for these families who move the hood with rose colored glasses on, then get mugged, robbed and wonder why (answer, easy targets that stand out).