Posted: 11:40 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, 2014

Fruitvale business owners fed up with rampant crime in area

Fruitvale crime
Fruitvale crime

By Cristina Rendon

OAKLAND, Calif. —

Business owners in the Fruitvale area of Oakland are calling on the city to do more in the wake of recent crimes in their area.

They said shootings, armed robberies, and drug deals are all too common on International Boulevard between Fruitvale and 42nd Avenue.

One business owner who wanted to be identified only as “Joe” said people are traumatized.

“It happens every other week, either a shooting or a stabbing or a robbery,” said Joe.

Joe said the public doesn’t hear about the crimes because everyone is too scared to speak up. He said almost every business near him has been the victim of a crime over the past few years.

Many business owners chose not to speak publicly to KTVU about the crimes out of fear of retaliation.

The most recent incident happened near surveillance cameras on 37th Avenue and International when four people were shot and one of the victims died at a hospital. Oakland police have made no arrests in that case.  

In 2011, the City of Oakland gave surveillance cameras to business owners in an effort to deter crime, but Joe said they’re not working.

“A lot of these people took the cameras, but they don’t want to pay the internet, so guess what?  The cameras are not working,” said Joe. “Most of the thieves know which cameras work and don’t work.”

Octavio Avila owns a Mexican restaurant in the area. In Spanish, he said his business has been robbed three times over the past few years. He now closes the restaurant by 7 at night because it’s too dangerous.

Oakland Police officers do patrol in the area, but Joe said the city needs to do more instead of him having to move his store to another location.

“Fruitvale is one of the nicest places to have a business because there are a lot of Latinos,” said Joe.  “It’s very good business for us. We’re not going to move from here.”

Joe said business owners have monthly meetings with police, but it’s not enough. He hopes by exposing the stories of crime in the area, the criminals will stay away.

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