From an Oakland neighborhood-watch site comes this disturbing report about a violent armed robbery last Friday night a few blocks east of Lake Merritt on the 600 block of Haddon Road.
"Our neighbors were robbed," writes the poster. Two men wearing hoodies, "walking up the street," confronted the unfortunate couple "with a gun drawn, right after they parked in their driveway. They scuffled with the husband, throwing him to the ground, with the gun pointed at his head. The wife screamed, and they pistol-whipped her across the temple, leaving a nasty gash. The assailants finally ran off with a money clip and a cell phone to a waiting white sedan farther down the street." The victims are, coincidentally, neighborhood-watch block captains.
"The police came really fast, within three minutes (after the assailants fled). The police were very nice, professional, and empathetic, but also said they would be unable to help much beyond the report, because of lack of resources.' One officer, when interviewing their next-door-neighbor, mentioned to her that this neighborhood has the highest rate in Oakland for this kind of crime. I don't know if that's true, but it was unsettling to say the least.
"In retrospect, our friends realized that they had seen these same guys cruising Haddon a few days before. Driving really slow, mid-morning, in a white sedan, three young men with hoodies and do-rags that were not from the neighborhood, looking at each house as they went by. They even stopped at a house on the corner to help themselves to as many lemons as they could carry from a neighbor's tree."
For lemonade? Or lemon-meringue pie?
"Our neighbors, as well as ourselves, are thinking of installing cameras as well as bright lights," writes the worried Oaklander.
"If you have the Bay Alarm [private security] service, don't be afraid to call ahead to have them on the street before you get home. Our friends did that on the way home from Highland Hospital after the robbery - they were so [shaken] up, it was a relief to have a waiting patrol service car waiting when they got home."