published : 2023-09-27

Oakland Businesses Prepare for Strike Over Rampant Violent Crime

More than 200 businesses expected to participate in Tuesday's strike

An image of Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, organizing the strike. (Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

More than 200 businesses in Oakland, California are mobilizing for a strike to protest the rampant violent crime that is driving customers away from their establishments.

The strike, organized by Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, aims to send a clear message that enough is enough.

Business owners are fed up with repeated break-ins and robberies, while patrons and employees live in fear for their safety.

The situation has become so dire that if things don't improve, many businesses will not be able to survive.

Kevin Johnston, owner of the gastropub Portal, shared that around 50% of their loyal customers have stopped coming due to multiple burglaries and car break-ins in the area.

A photo capturing the boarded-up windows of a business affected by break-ins and robberies in Oakland. (Taken with a Nikon D850)

In a show of solidarity, more than 200 businesses will either close for the whole day or shut their doors for a few hours during the strike.

The strike will commence at the iconic Le Cheval restaurant, a Vietnamese eatery that recently announced its closure after 38 years in business.

Son Tran, the owner of Le Cheval, emphasized that it is the surge in crime, not the pandemic, that is responsible for the closure.

Organizers have kept the exact list of participating businesses under wraps, generating anticipation for the impact this strike will have on the city.

Residents of Oakland have expressed frustration with the defund movement, which they believe has led to increased crime and lawlessness.

A shot of Kevin Johnston, owner of the gastropub Portal, standing in front of his establishment with a sign supporting the strike. (Taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III)

Oakland missed the deadline to receive grant funding to address retail theft, in contrast to nearby San Francisco, which received $17 million to combat the issue.

Shoplifters have become more brazen, and retailers have been left pleading for assistance from the city's understaffed and underfunded police force.

The missed deadline and loss of funding were the last straws for many business owners, motivating their participation in the strike.

Ryan Dixon, owner of the restaurant Calavera, shared that while the strike is not something they desire, it is a display of unity among businesses.