Safety and Your Business

Posted: August 31st, 2018 3:44 PM

Last Updated: May 6th, 2021 10:49 PM

Oakland businesses have several resources for safety in and around their businesses as well as to prepare for disasters. These include problem solving officers of the Oakland Police Department, Neighborhood Service Coordinators, Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils. Some business districts also use private security services, safety amabassadors, or cameras.

Oakland Police Department For most safety-related issues, the Oakland Police Department is your main point of contact. Oakland business owners should become familiar with the roles of different police offers and personnel, as well as the various options that businesses have for participating in crime prevention groups. Oakland Police department listings and phone numbers

Neighborhood Groups

Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils (NCPCs) In order to promote safety in neighborhoods, the Oakland Police Department works with neighborhood residents and business owners through Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councls (NCPCs). Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils are comprised of any residents or business owners who want to participate. These councils determine safety priorities for their neighborhood and they work closely with two different types of OPD employees that are assigned to their neighborhood (:

  • Problem Solving Officers (PSOs) - Problem Solving Officers are the City’s community policing officers. PSOs are different from patrol officers who respond to 911 and non-emergency calls all day. The mandate of PSOs is to work with the community on long-term problem solving. When residents tell the PSO about chronic neighborhood crime problem, the PSO thoroughly studies the matter and designs a solution, then working with the NSC helps mobilize the community and brings the necessary resources together to solve the problem. The PSO also regularly reviews crime statistics to observe patterns of crimes and ways to address them.
  • Neighborhood Services Coordinators (NSCs) - NSCs are not sworn police officers, but are employees of the police department that help organize the Neighborhood Councils in their assigned community policing beats. They assist the leaders of the Neighborhood Council to develop partnerships with the police and other city agencies to solve chronic problems.

PSOs and NSCs attend Neighborhood Council (NCPC) meetings regularly and attend business association meetings upon request and availability.

To find your local Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council check out the list of groups, meeting times and coordinators or cal 510.238.6372.

Merchant Watch Groups The police department offers trainings on how to set up Merchant Watch Groups, and the Oakland Merchant leadership forum has developed a detailed pamphlet on how to start and participate in a Merchant Watch group(PDF).

If you are a new business owner in a retail district, you can find out whether your district has a group by contacting your district leader. Not sure who your district leader is? Contact the Oakland Merchants Leadership Forum.

Ambassadors, Private Security, Cameras, Twitter

Several retail business districts have implemented or considered various safety measures including hiring private security, using Twitter, implementing phone trees, creating Merchant Watch groups or installing neighborhood cameras to deter crime and identify and apprehend criminals. To learn more about the various methods business districts have considered or implemented, contact the Oakland Merchant Leadership Forum:

Ambassadors The Downtown and Lake Merritt Community Benefit Districts use safety ambassadors to patrol the streets and help keep them clean and safe. Learn more about their ambassador programs here: Lake Merritt/Uptown & Downtown Oakland Ambassadors

Disaster Preparedness

The Oakland Fire Department’s CORE (Citizens of Oakland Respond to Emergencies) program provides the information you need to know about disaster preparedness in Oakland. In addition to online materials, CORE classes are available.