This year, Oakland has seen its robbery rate skyrocket by 24 percent all over town. Tired of being victimized, Rockridge neighbors have taken to the Internet to raise money to pay for their own security.
"One of them pulled a gun and literally announced that this was a holdup," said Andy Lee.
Lee knows well the crime that has recently plagued the Rockridge neighborhood where he has his architectural design business. A week ago, he and a coworker were held up at gunpoint at 10 in the morning.
"The young man who pulled the gun led me around the office and forced me to open drawers and desks and was continually asking me, 'Where's the money? Where's the cash? Where's the valuables?" said Lee.
"We had a recent spate of armed robberies in our neighborhood," said Paul Liu, who lives not far from Lee's business.
Liu's neighborhood is also a few blocks from where commuters were held up at gunpoint at a casual carpool stop earlier this week. He and other residents are raising money on crowdfunding site called Crowdtilt to pay for private security in their lower Rockridge neighborhood.
"I think what we as private citizens can do is sort of take some amount of collective action and essentially help the Oakland PD bring out another set of eyes and ears to our neighborhood," said Liu.
Kena Hudson is a young mother, who also feels Oakland residents have no choice, but to take part in their own protection. She said, "I think it's a small price to pay for there to be more eyeballs out on the street and people taking note andy saying, 'It's not OK to come into our neighborhoods and hold guns to people's faces."
So far, the effort on Crowdtilt has raised about $11,000, which is enough to pay for a part-time security patrol for at least the first few months.