How Oakland police are stepping up as violent crimes terrorize Chinatown

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – Just one day after saying they could not increase patrols in Oakland’s Chinatown because of budget cuts, tonight the city is changing course.

OPD announced Thursday that it’s reallocating resources so more officers can try putting an end to the recent spike in attacks and robberies.

Oakland city leaders have denounced the recent uptick in violence but business owners say they still need action. 

The Lunar New Year, a time to celebrate Chinese culture, is just a couple of weeks away and this cloud of crime is hanging over Chinatown.

An elderly man being shoved to the ground is just the latest attack caught on video in Oakland’s Chinatown. 

The neighborhood on edge following a series of violent crimes.

“I have seen many things but I’ve never seen things like this before,” Carl Chan said. 

Carl Chan is president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. 

He says the community has been reeling for the past several weeks. 

Recent crimes include a thief seen stealing money out of the hands of customers at a small market, a security video capturing a man snatching cash from people at a bakery, and a husband and wife were almost mowed down by a Volvo while trying to keep three women from taking off with stolen plants.

“I feel like they’ve been targeting our Asian communities,” Kenneth Lam said.

Chinatown business owner Kenneth Lam believes residents may not be reporting the crimes out of fear of retaliation.  

It’s been a tough year for the neighborhood because of the pandemic and now there’s this new concern about safety.

“This year has been one hit after another,” Lam said.

Lam is not alone.

“I’m very concerned about this,” Jimmy Chao said.

Jimmy Chao is worried the crime will scare outside customers from coming into Chinatown.

With the Lunar New Year just around the corner, the onslaught is even more alarming.

Police have made arrests in some of these cases but they’re still looking for a man wanted for attacking three people, including a 91-year-old who was walking near Harrison and 8th Streets.

Oakland police are asking any possible victims of robberies or assaults to come forward. 

People within the community are also encouraged to register their security cameras with the police department to help solve these crimes.

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