Rockridge District takes a Friday night stroll

August 23, 2008 1:47:31 AM PDT
An Oakland neighborhood hit by a series of takeover robberies this week is even busier than usual. The streets are crowded with people who want to send the bad guys a stern message. People in the Rockridge area met on the main drag on Friday night on College Avenue. They walked the streets near the Pasta Pomodoro restaurant that was robbed Monday.

Despite the big turnout on Friday night, there was another Oakland takeover robbery at Nomads Café at 6500 Shattuck Avenue. It was the same style with two men wearing large hooded sweatshirts, forcing employees to the back of the restaurant, robbing the employees and the register receipts for the night.

The news of the latest robbery cast a shadow on what was an amazing show of community defiance that they will not let crime hold them hostage anymore.

Hundreds of candle-holding, flashlight-holding citizens took to the streets of Rockridge in Oakland. It was their stand against a pair of masked gunmen who have robbed restaurants in neighborhoods all across the city in recent weeks.

"The event itself is not about preventing crime. It's about raising awareness and getting the message out there that we are not going to tolerate crime. It is unacceptable. Oakland is a great place to live, work, play and safety is our number one priority," said Becki Gagnon, from Zacary's Pizza manager.

"We all have young kids walking up and down the street. You just want a feeling that there is a community and you're not a victim to violence or people thinking you're just waiting," said Deborah Mckoy, from Rockridge.

Four nights ago Pasta Pomadoro was a target when two masked gunman pointed guns at employees and took the night's receipts right after closing at 11 p.m. The general manager says he's been overwhelmed by community support. Even more customers have come than on the usual Friday night.

"We're not going to stay inside. This is our street, we love this neighborhood. I live here, I also work here, and I want to feel safe walking around here at night, during the day and we're not going to be held hostage," said Sarah Lamb, with the Rockridge District Association.

Many of these restaurateurs have been trained by Oakland Police in how to respond in a takeover robbery. More police presence on the street is being promised. Friday night the Guardian Angels were also making a statement. Reinforcements from Ventura County came to help the local chapter. More Angels have come from San Diego, Reno, and even New York are on their way.

"This is the first time in Guardian Angels history that the Guardian Angels have been asked to participate with the Oakland Police Department in a emergency plan for the crime," said Cristina Fernandez, Guardian Angles.

People came out of their homes to go out to restaurants, to support the local businesses, to be out on the streets, and be on the lookout for any suspicious activity.


Load Comments