OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Florist Galen Chiu says Lunar New Year celebrations in Oakland's Chinatown are canceled due the pandemic, but the festive spirit of the holiday has been overshadowed by numerous high profile cases of violence and robberies, including a 91-year-old man knocked down in broad daylight.
"People are scared, Oakland police had to give up their Chinatown beat, I wish they had not done that," said Chiu.
Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong and Mayor Libby Schaaf announced Saturday that community resource officers, or "liaisons," are being restored to the Chinatown community to help bridge cultural gaps and language barriers and build trust.
"It's about trust, that person will help provide information to seniors and businesses on what they need to do to report crime," said Carl Chan President of Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.
In a statement mayor Libby Schaaf said, "The horrific targeting of victims based on race or nationality has no place in our diverse, sanctuary city of Oakland. We will restore these officers - as so many in the community have demanded while at the same time invest in non-police safety measures as well."
Last week, some merchants organized volunteer safety patrols on Chinatown streets.
Many are becoming more aware and vigilant, but a community vigil on Saturday afternoon was being held to remember the victims of violence and provide a healing space.
"I think a lot of conversations are focused on what we need to do on the streets to protect and defend but we also need to recognize the hurt and the pain we're feeling, seeing what happened to our elders," said Alvina Wong from Asian Pacific Environmental Network.