Oakland, Calif., restaurants are facing grim choices: Continue losing thousands of dollars each week and pray another of their customers doesn’t get robbed while they eat or close their doors for good.
As crime, drugs, and homelessness soar, business owners in the Democrat-run city are now comparing Oakland to a Vietnam-era “battleground,” according to DailyMail.com.
Over a single weekend — and on the same block — Le Cheval, a French-Vietnamese restaurant, shuttered its doors after 38 years and Galeto Brazilian Steakhouse called it quits.
The reason for closing is “crime,” Galeto’s owner, Eli Nascimento, confirmed.
“He recalled how his host got robbed outside the restaurant, with three pistols to his head,” DailyMail.com reports. “He quit because he couldn’t take it anymore.”
“Every day we struggle with not wanting to lay off our employees,” Derreck Johnson, owner of Home of Chicken and Waffles, said.
“I had a group from Miami get robbed at gunpoint on a Saturday afternoon, all their jewelry taken,” he said. “That should not be my priority. That should not be my job, to make sure that my customers are safe while they’re walking the streets in Oakland.”
The out-of-control crime led the city’s small business owners to announce a one-day strike to illustrate the economic impact their closures would have on Oakland.
Meanwhile, a group founded by hundreds of locals called Save Alameda for Everyone is attempting to recall Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price over her soft-on-crime approach to law enforcement.
According to Johnson, many of his patrons have been held up at gunpoint either entering or leaving his restaurant. Other customers discovered their cars had been broken into and their luggage was stolen while they ate.
“The total number of armed robberies in Oakland this year have reached 1282, which equates to a 43 percent rise since this time last year,” DailyMail.com reports. “At the same time, vehicle thefts are up nearly 50 percent, and home invasions by 65 percent – and Oakland police say they’ve arrested seven people in a special operation that targets car thieves.”
Johnson previously voiced his frustration on Fox News, according to DailyMail.com.
“There’s not a day goes by that I don’t see someone stealing something out of someone’s car in Jack London. What makes me feel handcuffed is that I can’t do anything about it,” he said. “If I go to say something, I might get shot … Is that how we want to live? I don’t want to live like that.”
He stressed the importance of small businesses.
“Small businesses are the heartbeat of Oakland, small businesses are the largest employer in Oakland, and it’s very important that the city, the state, the county, everyone recognizes how important small business is,” he said, adding, “I’ve had to subsidize the last two payrolls because sales have been so slow. People just don’t feel comfortable. It doesn’t appear like an area where that kind of crime would be taking place in broad daylight.”