Business owners and community members in Oakland are calling for more police presence. They say it’s a matter of keeping their doors open or some shutting for good.
Videos like these of multiple thefts happening on an almost daily basis at a 7-Eleven on International Boulevard are just one example of the crime impacting the Oakland neighborhood of Little Saigon.
“They say I can use the knife. I haven’t seen anyone with a gun but when they need it, they may pull out the guns too,” said 7-Eleven employee Sayeed Quad.
Quad works at the store and says in the last eight months they’ve been threatened with knives multiple times, witnessed break-ins and lose hundreds of dollars every week in stolen products. A daily frustration he feels will only stop with help from police.
“Without police or cops, that’s going to be a bad situation because as an employee I can’t stop those people,” he said.
A block away, Lynn Throung owner of Sun Hop Fat supermarket says constant crime is driving her customers away. She also owns 30 units in the neighborhood and says 50 percent of her tenants have moved out.
“We can call 911 but they only answer with shootings, but the small things they never come, they never call back,” she said.
Police say they are working on proactive measures to address rise in crime. OPD opened a substation in the neighborhood a year ago. Community members say it’s helping but don’t believe it’s enough.
“Small business owners are suffering and we are the pillars of this community, all business owners. If they can’t afford to keep their businesses open, they will have to move out. That is the reality,” said Stewart Chen, president of the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council.
The city is investing $200,000 to help fortify storefronts and a million more for safety ambassadors’ city wide, according to council president Nikki Fortunato Bas.
In a statement, she explains while city funds can’t come fast, she is continuing to work with the police department and others to address crime in the city.
As the community prepares to hold a meeting Thursday with city leaders, they hope their stories of frustration will turn into solutions.
Source: NBC Bay Area