Oakland — Today a coalition of faith, community and business leaders released the results of a recent poll of Oakland voters toward funding for public safety measures. This coalition was led by East Bay Asian Youth Center, Jobs & Housing Coalition, Make Oakland Better Now!, Oakland Community Organizations and Youth Alive. The research was conducted by Goodman Simon Associates in partnership with David Binder Research.

In a briefing conducted today for local elected officials, including City Council members, City Staff and County officials, the researchers presented a picture of an Oakland community deeply concerned about rising crime and strongly committed to a comprehensive approach to its solution.

The polling showed broad agreement that Oakland is facing a public safety crisis, with 62% of polled voters saying that the level of crime and violence in Oakland is increasing. 90% believe it is very important or extremely important that a public safety measure reduce gun violence and murders.

Specific findings include:

  • 60% of polled voters would support a ballot initiative that raises taxes to support increased policing, police reform measures and community violence prevention programs.
  • Support for this measure remained a robust 54% when connected to a $195 parcel tax.
  • Support for this measure increased to 73% after polled voters were presented with arguments in favor of the measure.
  • The polled arguments in favor of the measure included:
    • The effect that increased police staffing would have on solved crime rates and 911 response times.
    • The impact that evidence-based community programs, working with those most at-risk for committing as well as being hurt by crime, have on dropout and recidivism rates.
  • Voters support a comprehensive public safety approach of prevention, intervention and enforcement. 92% of polled voters agreed that increasing police staffing is important; 88% agreed that increased community programs are important. There was no consensus in the poll that one of these strategies – police or programs – was more worthy of supporting than the other.
  • While support for increased policing is strong, 82% of polled voters also agree that the strained relationship between police officers and many Oakland residents gets in the way of fighting crime.
  • Confidence in public officials to solve the issue of public safety is low, with 50% distrusting the Mayor and 45% distrusting the City Council.

Researchers conducted four focus groups beginning in May with Oakland voters: two with African-Americans, one with Latinos and one with Whites. The polling, conducted in late September, consisted of live interviews with 501 likely Oakland voters. The polling consisted of live landline and cell phone interviews, and had a margin of error of +/- 4.4%, with slightly higher margins for some subgroup questioning.

For further information, contact:

David Kakishiba, Executive Director, EBAYC, junji@ebayc.org

Greg McConnell, President and CEO, Jobs & Housing Coalition, greg@jobsandhousing.com

Bruce Nye, Board Chair, Make Oakland Better Now, bruce.nye@gmail.com

Amy Fitzgerald, Executive Director, OCO, afitzgerald@oaklandcommunity.org

Anne Marks, Executive Director, Youth ALIVE!, amarks@youthalive.org