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News Clash

Oakland CA: Besieged With Gun Violence, Residents Will Hire Private Security

(CBS News) OAKLAND, Calif. – There has been 61 murders so far in Oakland, California. And with crime on the rise, some neighbors are taking extraordinary steps.

Gunfire has become so common on the streets of Oakland, California — that even in neighborhoods that once seemed immune to the city’s violence, residents are no longer shocked.

“It’s like, ‘Oh, another shooting,'” said Jan Hetherington, who has lived for 14 years in the Oakland neighborhood of Maxwell Park. It’s a place with glorious views across San Francisco Bay, neat houses and friendly neighbors.

“This is the most wonderful neighborhood I’ve ever lived in,” she said. Yet she acknowledged she has to bring in private security to feel safe.

With budget cuts forcing Oakland to trim its police force by a third, residents decided to pay themselves for private security patrols, which is understandable when you hear this from Hetherington.

“A car came down the street, three guys got out with a gun. There was a gun battle three blocks over. And I did hear actually a bullet went through somebody’s house.”

That routine gunfire turned tragic last month.

“Our neighbor Judy, who lived in the next block to me, was shot and killed,” said Hetherington.

Judy Salamon, a 66-year-old dog walker, was murdered as she drove home. Who did it and why is unknown. Neighbors gathering at the spot where she died fear that if it could happen to Salamon, it could happen to anyone.

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