Oakland’s Chinatown business owners call for change after area’s recent burglaries – NBC Bay Area
Several traders from Oakland’s Chinatown rallied Friday to express their frustration and fear after a series of what they say were targeted robberies and break-ins targeting Asian traders.
Security footage showed how far burglars went to break into the Chinatown Lounge on 8th Street on Thursday.
“The person stepped onto the surface here and knocked over all the glasses,” he said
The group, armed with tools and a gun, searched the restaurant for about 14 minutes.
“It takes a toll. You have bills, staff if someone is sick due to COVID and then you have a burglary and how do you recover from that? said Darlene Wong of Lounge China.
Between the damage and what was stolen, Wong said the brazen break-in cost the lounge about $36,000. They are one of at least seven businesses targeted by the same thieves Thursday morning, according to the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s like a flash mob for me. They’re very organized,” said Francis Lan, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.
At a community meeting on Friday, business owners took turns saying they all have the same concern.
“Not only do we need protection during the day, we also need protection at night,” said business owner Albert Wong. The community is calling on OPD to step up night patrols and blast police for not attending today’s meeting. The group also criticized the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council for not doing enough to address concerns.
While the council funds an unarmed night patrol, they said that’s not their primary focus.
“I think they need to put more resources into security than street parties and parades,” Ian said.
“We work with city and county officials, but it’s not our only responsibility, it’s cleanliness, revitalizing our businesses, hence the business improvement district,” Stewart Chen, Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council.
In response to the surge in burglaries, OPD said they are dispatching additional officers to the hardest-hit areas, but gave no details.
At the same time, Wong believes many crimes go unreported and calls on her community to do their part.
“If someone is fear based or doesn’t want to come forward, you’re actually doing your community a disservice,” she said.