Restaurants in Oakland are losing thousands a week as diners’ cars and jewelry are robbed during meals, while locals now avoid the city’s downtown core.
Violent crime is rampant in the Democrat-run Californian city, with business owners now comparing the area to a ‘battlefield’ akin to wartime Vietnam.
As a result, Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price is facing a recall. Hundreds of locals have formed a group called Save Alameda for Everyone in an effort to oust Price because of her soft approach to crime.
That same weekend, two beloved restaurant spots closed their doors after years of service due to rampant car burglaries and violent crime on their doorstep.
The French-Vietnamese eatery Le Cheval closed its doors after 38 years, as did the Galeto Brazilian Steakhouse on the same block.
Armed robbers try to steal a car in Oakland. Violent crime is rampant in California city, with business owners now comparing the area to a ‘battlefield’ akin to wartime Vietnam
A robber is seen carjacking a vehicle on the streets of Oakland. The total number of armed robberies in Oakland this year has reached 1,282, marking a 43 percent increase since this time last year
Vehicle thefts are up nearly 50 percent, and home burglaries are up 65 percent — and Oakland police say they’ve arrested seven people in a special operation targeting car thieves
Galeto’s owner Eli Nascimento said it was “defiantly a crime” that led him to close. He recalled how his host was robbed outside the restaurant, with three guns to his head. He stopped because he couldn’t handle it anymore.
Other small business owners, including store owners and gas station workers, previously announced a one-day strike to highlight the impact spiraling crime was having on the local economy.
Derreck Johnson, owner of Home of Chicken and Waffles, said, “Every day we struggle with not wanting to lay off our employees.
“I had a group from Miami robbed at gunpoint on Saturday afternoon and all their jewelry taken. That shouldn’t be my priority. That shouldn’t be my job, making sure my clients are safe walking the streets of Oakland.”
Many of Johnson’s customers have had their luggage stolen from their cars or been robbed at gunpoint while walking in and out of the restaurant.
The total number of armed robberies in Oakland this year has reached 1,282, marking a 43 percent increase since this time last year.
At the same time, the number of car thefts has increased by almost 50 percent and the number of home burglaries by 65 percent. Oakland police say they have arrested seven people in a special operation targeting car thieves.
Johnson, who opened his restaurant 20 years ago, previously told Fox: “It’s gotten to the point where actual individuals are being robbed at gunpoint, and it’s really had a big impact on our business.
Derreck Johnson, owner of Home of Chicken and Waffles, said, “Every day we struggle with not wanting to lay off our employees.”
Le Cheval was a beloved institution in the city, but it has closed due to rising crime rates
Oakland’s Galeto Brazilian Steakhouse, which had to close due to the crime
‘Our turnover is very low, I’m talking to neighboring businesses… it’s time to come together and come up with a solution so that it no longer affects our business, because people just don’t feel safe going downtown or coming to the Jack London area.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t see someone stealing something from someone’s car in Jack London. What makes me feel like I’m handcuffed is that I can’t do anything about it.
‘If I say something, I might get shot… Is that how we want to live? I don’t want to live like this.
“Small businesses are the heartbeat of Oakland, small businesses are the largest employer in Oakland, and it’s really important that the city, the state, the county, everyone recognizes how important small businesses are.
“I’ve had to subsidize the last two payrolls because sales have been so slow. People just don’t feel comfortable. It doesn’t seem like an area where this kind of crime would take place in broad daylight.”
CCTV footage from third-party companies has flooded social media in recent months, showing armed carjackers breaking into vehicles and sometimes injuring passers-by.
Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price is facing a recall as a result of the chaos in the city. Hundreds of locals have formed a group called Save Alameda for Everyone in an effort to oust Price over her soft approach to crime
In October, police said they were investigating an armed robbery in Oakland in which a man who tried to help the first victim was shot.
In August of this year, a shocking video emerged of a woman being pistol-whipped and dragged across gravel by two thugs in Democratic-led Oakland.
The attack happened at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, August 16, on International Boulevard and left the unidentified woman with serious injuries, according to police investigating in the East Bay city.
Footage shows the woman being confronted by two men who try to take several items from her, including her bag, before she is violently pistol-whipped.
She is then seen falling to the ground before being pulled by her bag as both men rummage through her pockets.
Oakland has been hit by increasing incidents of violence, with assaults, car thefts and robberies all reaching record highs not seen since the 1990s.
As fearful business owners liken the area to something out of a war movie, leaders of the Oakland NAACP chapter have called on officials to declare a state of emergency — as incidents of car break-ins and car thefts have nearly doubled since 2021.
Bruce Vuong, a Vietnamese national who owns a car workshop where the woman was abused, compared the area during its infamous war to several local news media over the weekend.
Ironically, the neighborhood is already called Little Saigon.
“Oakland has become a war zone,” Vuong, who has owned and operated Quality Tech Automotive Shop on International for 35 years, told the local ABC affiliate.
More heist scenes from around Oakland
Two armed men try to carjack a vehicle, seen on CCTV footage
“It feels like a battleground going to work,” he said, noting how despite all his years of experience — dating back to the city’s infamous gang violence in the 1990s — crime over the past two years or so unparalleled.
Police also recently warned of an ‘increase in home robberies’, including cases of robbers armed with guns kicking in doors before threatening homeowners and stealing their belongings.
The Oakland Police Department (OPD) said some of the hardest hit areas include Laurel, North Hills, Joaquin Miller and the Greater San Antonio area.
Left-wing Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, who has been in office since November 2022, promised to create a “comprehensive” public safety plan that will “double down” on violence prevention programs if she is elected.
Last year, her predecessor Libby Schaaf admitted that efforts to defund her city’s police department went “too far” after violent crime rose to levels in the 15 years following the movement’s introduction in the summer of 2020 was no longer seen.
Her comments came after the City Council passed a resolution in 2021 to cut police department funding by $17 million despite a 90 percent increase in homicides — a move criticized by Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong, who said at the time that ‘crime is out of the question’. control’ in the city.
“When we saw this surge during the pandemic — and, let’s face it, after George Floyd, after this country just saw its trust in government justice compromised — we were just heartbroken,” Schaaf added.
But crime in the city has only worsened since then.