Oakland Restaurant Owner Describes City’s Crime Epidemic as ‘Worst I’ve Ever Seen’


Oakland resident: ‘It is scary for business owners and even for a person walking down the road.

In recent months, headlines have been filled with stories about companies that are well-known in Oakland shutting down or adding extra security. It’s not only corporations who are feeling the impact of the increased crime in the Bay Area.

A local Oakland restaurant proprietor told Fox News Digital bluntly that the city she has lived in for nearly 45 years was “the worst” she had ever seen.

Target closed down its downtown Oakland store last year after the police had responded to over 100 smash-and-grab thefts. Similar incidents are expected in 2023. In-N-Out announced that its Oakland location would be closing. This was the first time the company had ever made such a decision. The reason? A rash of burglaries, armed robberies, and property damage. Last month, a Denny’s closed due to the crime epidemic.

There are also Blue Shield, Clorox, and Kaiser Permanente – the three largest employers in Oakland – who have sent out warnings, hired security guards, or taken other measures in response to the crime wave in the city.

Weyanti Ahmed runs Y’s Choice in the Jack London district of the city, near the waterfront. She says that the recent developments prove Oakland will not thrive until it undergoes serious changes. Local hubs have been forced to raise prices or close their doors due to the rising crime in the neighborhood.

She said that it was frightening for business owners. It’s frightening for a person walking down the road. It’s not at all comfortable. “You’re constantly on guard and it has affected my business enormously.”

She recounted a particularly terrifying incident that occurred in December when an attack took place near her restaurant as she was serving customers. She says that she has seven employees and no longer allows anyone to take public transport if they do not have their car.

She said, “There is just not enough police in Oakland.” “Jack London downtown is a popular tourist destination, especially in our area.” It’s only logical that a large number of crimes would occur in this area since they know there are a great deal of tourists down there.

Last year, a woman from the local KTVU outlet said that a once vibrant district had become ‘a ghost town.’ She recalled seeing cars being broken into while walking her dog in broad daylight. One man stated, “This could be a vibrant neighborhood but it’s not right now.”

“Destroy the police?” “That doesn’t work,” said he.

Ahmed and the other business owners of her neighborhood try to help each other but are limited by their abilities. She has been forced to use more delivery apps, such as DoorDash and Grubhub because people aren’t comfortable eating at her restaurant. It specializes in seafood and soul food. She said that she has also considered closing her restaurant because she’s lost so many dine-in clients.

She said, “So, if you were going to have lunch, dinner, or whatever, but then your car was broken into and you went outside, the $30 meal now costs you more than $230,” Would you return? “Probably not… the whole dining experience at Jack London is just not going happen because nobody feels comfortable to eat there.”

Oakland is the county seat of Alameda County. District Attorney Pamela Price, who represents this county, has been criticized for her progressive policies. These include not trying juveniles for crimes as adults, requesting lower sentences and probations for more crimes, and eliminating special circumstances sentencing enhancements. Oakland also lacks a permanent chief of police at this time. Ahmed expressed her frustration and disappointment with Democratic Mayor Sheng Thao, as well as the City Council.

Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California has reportedly advised its employees to stay inside because crime is continuing to affect business throughout the city.

Ahmed: “I think the police officers have become a bit more cautious.” “They are not as aggressive as I would like them to be.” We live in an ungoverned city because they don’t have any authority. It’s sad.”

Oakland, CA restaurateur demands ‘immediate’ action from legislators over crime spike

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Oakland’s problems have also caught the attention of leaders in California. California Gov. Gavin Newsom condemned the “completely unacceptable” increase in crime and announced an influx of 120 California Highway Patrol agents to Oakland and the East Bay. This led to dozens of arrests on everything from auto thieves to drug possession this week.

According to a CBS News report on Oakland crime statistics, robbery (37%), motor vehicle theft (45%), and burglary (24%) all increased by double digits from year to year.

The Office of Mayor Thao told local media that reducing crime was a top priority at City Hall. They cited funding for new police academies and the return of foot patrols.

Oakland is among the bluest U.S. cities; Democrats are in charge of municipal government and Alameda County, President Biden received 80% of votes in 2020.