Businesses in Oakland, California, are sick and tired of all the violent crime that is rampant in their city, and now, they’re doing something to fight back.
This week, more than 200 companies in the city planned to go on strike for a day in protest of the crime that they say is hurting their businesses considerably.
The Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce helped to organize the planned strike. Its president, Carl Chan, told local Fox 2 KTVU station:
“[If we don’t do something], there will be more businesses that will close. So, we may sacrifice maybe one day, people may close the entire day, or maybe two hours, but that is a time when we have to say enough is enough.”
Some of the businesses that are participating in the strike will close their doors for the entire day. Some businesses can’t afford to do that, so they’ll be closing from 10 a.m. through noon.
Chan had a first-hand experience with the violence in the city, as he was the victim of a violent attack in 2022. The assailant, who has since been convicted, brutally assaulted an 88-year-old Asian woman in San Francisco just a few months after he attacked Chan.
Various business owners have reported that they suffered multiple robberies and break-ins. All of this is causing both their employees and their customers to fear for their own safety.
The owner of gastropub Portal, Kevin Johnston, told the local Fox outlet:
“If things don’t turn around in Oakland, we will not be able to survive. It is just that grave at this point. I’m going to be closed all day [for the strike]. I’m going to lose money, but I’ve got to make the stand.”
Johnston has estimated that about half of the long-time regulars at his establishment have stopped coming altogether following multiple burglaries there. Patrons and staff members have also had their cars broken into in the neighborhood.
When the strike begins, those who are participating were planning to gather at Le Cheval, an Oakland Vietnamese restaurant that said last week it would be closing for good at the end of September after being in business for 38 years. Son Tran, the owner of the establishment, said that the closure of his business was due to crime, and not the pandemic.
As he said:
“The lack of office workers did not kill us. The crime, the criminals killed us.”
Another business owner who is planning to close for two hours was Elke Tatad, who runs Todos – a Mexican cantina. She said:
“You know we book these events, and I sign a contract, and then the guest walks south to their car, and their car just got bipped. [They] pull the contract from us, and we just lost a party of 120. That is what’s happening. We’ve met with [city leaders] several times, and the response has been for us to hire private security.”
Crime has been a huge issue in Oakland over the last few years, just as it’s been in some other cities across the country.