OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland storeowners are asking the city to dedicate more resources to stopping the ongoing robberies of storefronts. Oakland police say car break-ins, store break-ins and street robberies have increased since 2020.
"It is very dangerous and we have never seen it this bad," Ahmed Ali, a storeowner who says his stores have been broken into numerous times. "They come in groups and don't even seem to care they are caught on video."
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Ali shared surveillance video of a robbery to one of his stores. It shows people in an SUV hooking a chain to the gate of his store and driving away to yank it open. Once the gate was down, a group of people went in and started taking numerous items from the store.
"Grabbing all the expensive liquor, broke into the office, took all the money," he said. "The damage was about $30,000."
Ali says he knows numerous other stores being aggressively robbed. Video of another robbery to a different one of his stories showed someone carrying an assault rifle before running off.
Oakland police say crimes of theft have increased since the pandemic.
"What we have seen throughout the city including Little Saigon, international and even some of our business corridors is an increase in robberies and burglaries," said Darren Allison with the Oakland Police Department. "Street level robberies, car burglaries and in some cases commercial burglaries."
OPD says thieves target stores that have cash inside or expensive merchandise.
"These are efforts for individuals to get ahold of them very rapidly and then try and offload to a vendor to get more money or to have cash on hand," Allison said.
Ali says the city needs to do more to help its merchants. Ali says he is losing money with what is currently going on.
"We pay city tax, property tax, business tax. We pay all these taxes and where is the protection," Ali said. "You call 911 - it takes 5 minutes just to get through."
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