OAKLAND (KRON) — Oakland police are stepping up patrols in its Chinatown neighborhood for the next three weeks.
While robberies and burglaries are a citywide problem, police say crime typically rises in Chinatown during the Lunar New Year, which fell on Jan. 25 and continues for 15 days.
Monday night Oakland Police held a press conference to warn neighbors about increased crime in the area.
The celebrations bring more people into Chinatown and with more people, there’s more opportunities for suspects.
Police also say that criminals have become aware of a Lunar New Year tradition where elders typically give cash to younger children in the family, usually in red envelopes.
Because of that, more seniors are now being targeted.
“We have two foot patrol officers here, that’s normal and were adding an additional two in the mornings and evenings as well,” Oakland Police Officer Alan Yu said.
Detectives say criminals are often targeting seniors carrying bags or walking alone, but it’s not just a Chinatown problem.
“If we’re talking electronic crimes, it’s downtown as well as anywhere. There’s a lot of cafes or coffee shops where victims are most likely unaware or doing something else,” Yu said.
Now they’re partnering with other agencies and cities like Berkeley, Emeryville, San Leandro and more.
“Police departments and five other agencies addressing a lot of different crimes from auto burglaries, residential burglaries, laptop snatches and other grand thefts. Right now it’s going to be about 40 officers countywide in six different cities in hopes we can deter, stop and apprehend these suspects,” Oakland Police Officer Steven Nowak said.
To prevent yourself from becoming a victim, police say the best thing to do is to always be aware of your surroundings.
Also make sure you’re not walking alone at night and be careful to keep your valuables hidden.