OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland Chinatown business owners are frustrated and speaking out after a series of armed robberies, burglaries and break-ins in recent weeks.
George Chan works at a dessert shop near 9th and Franklin. He was in the store when several men entered the business in late November, wielding semi-automatic weapons, demanding cash.
"It's like a really serious situation here," Chan said.
This incident is just one of at least a dozen examples of crime plaguing Chinatown in recent weeks.
Carol Liao owns a health store that sells vitamins, herbs and massage chairs nearby. She has been a business owner in Chinatown for about a decade and has seen her share of crime lately.
"Sometimes one night they can over seven, eight or 10 stores (get hit in) one night," Liao said in frustration while standing outside her shop. She gestured to her neighbors who have boards covering the windows.
While there's no publicly available crime data for just Chinatown, we were able to comb through data gathered for the police area 1, which includes Chinatown. The results were mixed.
The most recent data from Nov. 27 through Dec. 3 shows robberies being up by an astounding 46% year to date compared to 2022. But burglaries fell flat and larcenies are down by nearly 40%."
While the data doesn't necessarily match what many say is a crime surge, Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber Foundation, says it's partially due to underreporting.
"I think some folks are tired and also don't believe much will be done. So we need to do a lot more to encourage more victims coming out and to do reporting," said Carl Chan.
While we still saw volunteer patrols walking the streets, OPD had been transparent about the challenges of patrolling every Oakland neighborhood.
"Since the beginning of year, our city has a huge deficit, so we lost some of our officers," said Carl Chan.
It's something George Chan noticed as well.
"We need more police to take over this street and protect our safety," he said. When asked why he returns to work at the shop, he says he has no choice and has bills to pay.
People like Carol Liao hope that with more funding for police and more reporting by business owners like herself, there is hope for the neighborhood she has called home for 30 years.
"We do hard work, our merchants. We try to stay in Oakland Chinatown and make business prosperous again," she said.
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