Crime Getting So Bad In Oakland, Officials Replace Traffic Lights With Stop Signs

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Lisa Moore Contributor
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At the intersection of E. 12th Street and 16th Avenue in Oakland, California, drivers are now greeted with four-way stop signs hanging overhead where traffic lights used to hang.

The City of Oakland replaced the traffic lights with stop signs in response to months of recurring copper thefts and tampering with the lights’ electrical power boxes, CBS San Francisco reports.

“It’s just telling us that the city is giving up on us,” Tam Le, owner of Le’s Auto Body & Engine Repair at the intersection corner, told CBS San Francisco. “The city did try to fix the traffic light at least a few times. But once they fixed it, normally within a week or so, it will go out again.” (RELATED: Copper Wire Thieves Cost Blue City Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars: REPORT)

“Neighbors say the [stop] sign is a sign and a reflection of the city’s condition. They say the city’s inability to clear a homeless encampment next to the intersection is leading to this kind of issue,” Da Lin, who discovered the city’s action, reported on a KPIX broadcast.

The homeless encampment, which stretches for three blocks of the neighborhood, illegally connects to the city’s power and causes disruptions to the traffic lights, according to CBS San Francisco. The city reportedly tried to counter the electrical tampering with heavy cement blocks over the electrical boxes, but the encampment members simply moved them and continued to steal the power. (RELATED: Homelessness Surging In Blue City Despite Doling Out Hundreds Of Millions)

Residents have begun to flee the area because of these encampments and their disruptions to civic life, the outlet reports. Last year, a truck crashed into Le’s shop as a result of the erratic or knocked-out traffic lights, CBS San Francisco reported.

“Many businesses already closed down on E. 12th St. And I don’t know how long we’re going to be here. Because once they move to our side of the sidewalk, we will be gone,” Le told CBS San Francisco. “If you really want to fix the stop sign, I think you really have to clean up this homeless encampment.”

Local residents agreed and told reporters that they are concerned about the rising crime in Oakland.

“I want to live here and I love this neighborhood, and I love how diverse it is,” Oakland resident Mason Young told KPIX. “But … all of my friends and relatives that don’t live in the area don’t understand it all. They’re like, ‘you’re gonna get shot,’ and I can’t say, ‘no I’m not; there’re no gunshots’ – ’cause there are.”