Roughly five years ago, I decided I wanted to work in law enforcement. I went to my family and laid out my plan. The anti-cop attitude in the country and media was just beginning to climb to the summit of what we have been seeing today. I went to my father and told him what I wanted to do. He told me that he was supportive of what I wanted to do, with one exception. He made me promise him that I would never work in Oakland. “You’ll get shot!” he proclaimed.
Growing up in Northern California, Oakland was almost a taboo place. I was given the impression at a young age that if you go to Oakland you only leave in a body bag. The FBI agrees. In 2013, the FBI released its annual crime statistics report. Oakland was ranked the 2nd most dangerous city in the United States of America. Detroit, Michigan was the only city more violent. According to the crime report, just under 20 out of every 1,000 people were the victims of violent crime in Oakland in 2013. This report is not an anomaly, the previous year in 2012, the Oakland Homicide count was an astounding 127. According to cityrating.com Oakland’s violent crime rating was a whopping 415.23% higher than the entire national average.
Cityrating.com also laid out specific crime statistics for 2012. Oakland suffered 3,227 reported aggravated assaults, 271 forcible rapes, 6,976 automobile thefts and 26,530 property crimes. 2016 isn’t shaping up any better. Oakland is currently on pace for 3,635 assaults, 278 rapes, 6,078 auto thefts and just over 21,000 property crimes with 118 homicides to boot.
Where does this leave the major sports teams currently residing in Oakland? The Raiders, Warriors and Athletics all have called Oakland home for many years.
The Warriors already have plans to move back across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco into a privately financed stadium in 2017. The Raiders have played at the Oakland Coliseum since 1995. The building is a dilapidated piece of junk. The Raiders share Oakland Coliseum with the Oakland A’s. Since the baseball season and football season overlap, the Raiders are forced to play their first-half NFL home games on a baseball diamond like a JV high school team.
The Raiders have already secured a nice spot in the Las Vegas desert. The Nevada Legislature voted in October to create a room tax on Clark County hotel rooms to finance half of the new stadium. The Raiders relocation must be approved by three- fourths vote by NFL owners.
Recent reports from the NFL suggest rumors that the league wishes to keep the Raiders in Oakland, due to the large market in the Bay Area. This is mind boggling, considering the league is hellbent on creating a family-friendly atmosphere. The NFL and every other sports team in Oakland should cut ties with the city and move elsewhere. The Athletics were 29th in average attendance in 2016. A move north to Sacramento could spike attendance through the roof.
Sporting events are great family outings. The well-earned reputation of Oakland diminishes the family aspect. I am not insinuating that Las Vegas is a crime-free sanctuary, because it is not. I am saying that I would take my Family to one hundred Las Vegas Raiders games before I took them to a single Oakland Raiders game. I believe the Raiders, Warriors and A’s would see a surge in fan base if they abandoned Oakland once and for all.
By Kyle Jones
Kyle Jones is a husband, rabid sports fan, law enforcement officer and an amateur sports writer. Any inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.