It's like a sci-fi crime flick in which violent thugs run wild through a post-apocalyptic ex-paradise, wielding guns and leaping fences and invading restaurants and stomping on cars, except it's a surreal sci-fi crime flick because the criminals are kids! Except it isn't a flick; it's real, now, and here. Neighborhood-watch-site postings reveal recent interactions with rampaging saplings who aren't, uh, playing sandlot baseball or studying Lord Jim. In the Rockridge BART parking lot, one man "heard some commotion" and turned to see some fifteen adolescents "yelling and running in the lot. ... jumping on top of parked cars ... kicking the windshield[s] and damaging cars."
Idling alongside a College Avenue bus stop, a driver saw six teens "screaming, jumping on the benches and making quite a scene ... yelling, 'We are going to take over the neighborhood and ruin this neighborhood.' 'Fuck Rockridge' and 'We will take Rockridge' is what they were saying. They were so loud I could hear them with my windows rolled up." A man adds: "I was coincidentally home today and ... about 3 pm, three black males (around mid-teens or so) peered over our rear fence from the neighbor's backyard (on taft). it looked as if they were about to come over the fence when they saw me" and fled. A homeowner near Rockridge's Far West High School adds: "We have had Far West students hopping fences into backyards and loitering. ... The students act in an intimidating manner when approached." A woman reports that when she left Citron Restaurant on College Avenue after a recent lunch, "a group of 12-14 year old black youth, 3 or 4 boys and 1 girl ... started saying things like 'Gimme your money.' It was ... like they were practicing thuggery."
One man suggests starting after-school programs and "using some humor with the kids." Another retorts, exasperated: "All this talk about coddling troublemakers is nothing short of an affront to the concept of personal responsibility. ... Good god. It's happened. I used to be a left winger, and now i've spent so much time on the West Coast that I may as well be a republican."
According to the Oakland Police Department, a twelve-year-old was arrested for his role in an April 12 High Street robbery-assault with other kids. A thirteen-year-old and a fourteen-year-old were arrested for an April 14 100th Avenue robbery-assault. One of the apprehended East Bay restaurant robbers is only sixteen. On April 16, "a group of kids threw a rock(s) at my living room window," breaking two panes, a 59th Street resident writes.
Between 25 and fifty Berkeley High School students reportedly jumped on and mauled a parked car on the 2600 block of Milvia Street on April 21, according to the police log. Four juveniles jumped a UC Berkeley student near campus that same day, according to UC Police.
Boys Will Be Boys
And the YouTube teen-fight vids persist. A Richmond High School fight drew more than 14,000 views at last count — and such comments as "When we find out who u lil ... faggets wannabe undercover nortacos are were gonna kill all of you ... tick tock." And: "Gay ass pussy ... we gonna kill all of u."
According to San Pablo police, Marcus Russell attended an April 18 barbecue in San Pablo's Davis Park, where he was shooting dice with other guests when an assailant approached just before 8 p.m. and sprayed them with assault-rifle fire, killing the 23-year-old. Witnesses refused to provide cops with descriptions. The De Anza High School grad's death was a confluence of guns and gambling. He clearly liked gambling; his MySpace page lists Casino among his favorite films, and his name is on a petition supporting the construction of a North Richmond casino by the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians. ("Welcome to the land of the yeh-mah-bax people," proclaims their web site.) His MySpace page also features a large decorative picture of a shiny handgun. A year-old posting from a friend reads: "hope your bein safe out there."
The Sour Hour
In Piedmont on April 7 — on two separate occasions an hour apart, on two different streets — teenage tossers were reported "driving recklessly ... throwing lemons at pedestrians."
The number of businesses along the same stretch of Berkeley's San Pablo Avenue robbed by a slender, black-ski-masked African-American gunman is growing. Along with two home-improvement stores over the past two weeks, Good Vibrations was held up by someone fitting that description on April 18, according to the police log. This time he wore a red New York Knicks baseball cap and got $1,000. The cash you spent on butt-plugs is in his hands now.
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