OAKLAND, Calif. (BCN)– Outgoing Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf this week unveiled her public safety initiatives for downtown and other retail districts in hopes to spur shopper confidence amid the city’s crime woes and support businesses as they continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic. The mayor has resolved to spend up to $779,000 on the initiatives in various shopping hubs in the city such as Piedmont, Jack London Square, Rockridge and Lakeshore, as well as the Laurel, Temescal, Korea and Chinatown, Dimond and Montclair Districts, and of course downtown.

In a move similar to that of San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Schaaf announced the expansion of civilian ambassadors and other security in shopping areas throughout the holidays, dubbed Shop Safe Downtown. Grants will also be provided to businesses to help store owners purchase and install additional security and lighting.

Schaaf’s Welcome Back Downtown initiative will also expand daytime security and civilian ambassador presence for shoppers, diners, bar-hoppers and anyone else wanting to enjoy Oakland’s cultural life. New nighttime security ambassadors will be added, along with nighttime traffic control and monitoring of illegal vending.

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The Oakland Police Department will also be stepping up its presence in these shopping hubs and sharing communication devices with security there. “As mayor, I know that our recovery post-pandemic is so important,” said Schaaf at a Wednesday press conference, adding that she’s heard concerns about public safety in Oakland “loud and clear.”

Oakland has experienced an unfortunate proliferation of homicides over the past year as well as an increase in armed robberies.

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