Barbed wire and metal bars make Oakland’s business districts
look like war zones, say city officials who want to outlaw exterior security
devices that they claim are not only ugly but ineffective.
"It gives a sense that our community is not a very safe city," said
City Manager Robert Bobb, who has made fighting blight a top priority. "We
believe there are alternatives for securing their businesses."
A City Council committee backed a plan Tuesday to prohibit barbed wire fences
in commercial districts but stopped short of supporting a more far- reaching
proposal to eliminate burglar bars, roll-down doors and retractable security
gates, common fixtures throughout the city.
City officials said they believe Oakland is the first city in the Bay Area
to consider such a law, although Santa Monica has banned barbed wire.
Such devices "tend to exaggerate the perception of an unsafe area or
war zone," said city building services director Calvin Wong.
Again appearance is more important then actualities. The reason
it looks like the community is not very safe is because of Oakland’s high crime
don’t pick these items because they like the war zone aesthetic but
their businesses. Maybe they think by making it look safe it will become safe.
I remember the first time I went to New York City and saw all of the roll-down
doors on businesses and burglar bars. I was soon taught the reason why the
area looked unsafe, as I was walking down the sidewalk in a crowd of people
a junkie pulled a gun on me and demanded my wallet. Don’t let anyone tell
you that New Yorkers aren’t polite. While I was being robbed in the shock I
had dropped the record album I had just bought (Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the
and the robber picked it off the ground and handed it back to me.