OAKLAND (KRON) — Oakland City Councilmember Noel Gallo says the Home Depot in the city’s Fruitvale neighborhood is surrounded by people living in homeless camps, doing drugs and stealing from the store.
“The fences have been torn down. That’s why they have special cameras and security in the back,” he said. “Not only were they losing customers at the other end because people breaking into their cars, but on a daily basis inside the store they were getting like 29 robberies per day.”
Gallo says it became so bad that Home Depot gave the city an ultimatum — either clean up the area or the national chain will take away its Oakland store, as well as its Emeryville store.
“For the City of Oakland it’s extremely important. The 300 jobs they’re creating here and then there’s taxes. they are paying the city $5 to $8 million a year that we can use for services,” Gallo said.
To keep Home Depot, Gallo says the city began cleaning up the problem at 37th Avenue, just behind the store, on Wednesday.
“It’s now clean and so here were going to create a fence that Home Depot is paying for everything. They’re going to create a fence where the neighbors can get in and their trucks and police and fire can get in and out at anytime,” the council member said.
Gallo says this is only the beginning.
“With time we are going to clear it. There is a street over there that we have to connect 42nd Avenue, the city already has it. But now there’s homeless over there and then the lot on the other side is a private lot.”