Florida Family’s Daylight Robbery Sparks Concerns About Oakland Safety

A family from Florida is bringing their son home from Oakland, California, after a daylight robbery marred their college drop-off experience. Rhomel Crossman, a defensive tackle from Coconut Creek, Florida, was set to start at Lincoln University but now faces an uncertain future following the theft of his family’s belongings.

The family arrived in California on Saturday to register Crossman for classes. They parked their rented Nissan Rogue just a block from the campus and went to a nearby Jamaican restaurant. In just 15 minutes, their SUV’s windows were smashed, and their luggage was stolen. The stolen items included $3,000 in cash, three passports, social security cards, Crossman’s high school diploma, and birth certificate.

Nerissa Murray Watson, Crossman’s mother, recounted the ordeal, saying, “Three thousand dollars in a bag my husband put under the seat with three passports, social security cards, and my son’s high school diploma and birth certificate” were taken. Despite calling 911, the family was directed to visit the police station to file a report. Murray Watson described the situation as “lawless,” adding, “We even called the police three times, and they said they can’t come.”

Witnesses reported seeing masked men in a car without a license plate near the scene of the robbery. Additionally, a sleep apnea machine was stolen, causing Crossman’s aunt, Coren Leslie-Green, significant distress. “Now, I start feeling my heart, like, it’s pounding in the morning instead of feeling rested,” Leslie-Green said.

The family has decided to withdraw Crossman from Lincoln University due to safety concerns. “I have to bring back my son to Florida because it’s not safe here,” Murray Watson stated.

This incident stands in stark contrast to claims by California Gov. Gavin Newsom about declining crime rates in Oakland. Data from the Oakland Police Department shows a 33% reduction in crime compared to the same period in 2023. “These results are a clear and concrete example of the effective partnership with state, local, and federal law enforcement in Oakland and the surrounding East Bay,” Newsom said in a statement. “Ensuring the safety and security of Oakland residents, we will continue to make our communities safer by taking down crime and holding individuals accountable.”

The family’s ordeal highlights the ongoing challenges of ensuring safety and security in urban areas, despite official reports of declining crime rates.