Community members rally at In-N-Out over 'public safety crisis' in Oakland

In Oakland, there are calls for state leaders to do more to deal with crime, and community groups met on Sunday about what they describe as a public safety crisis at the In-N-Out on Hegenberger Road that is closing this month over the soaring number of break-ins. 

In-N-Out is just one of the businesses closing and, in other cases, businesses are unable to get insurance coverage because of an increase in burglaries, robberies and break-ins.

Ali Albeisry owns several markets in Oakland and is the president of the Small Merchant Chamber of Commerce, a group with 320 small business members, 90 percent of which are located in Oakland.

"We need solutions now, we need things to be done now," he said.

One of their members, Hemo’s Spot Juice Bar Café on Seminary Avenue in East Oakland, was broken into Monday morning.

"His loss is probably almost $3,000 to $4,000, if not more," said Albeisry. "I told him not to call his insurance because as soon as he calls his insurance to file a claim, then the insurance company just will not renew his policy. This is the problem we are suffering right now."

Some of the people at the rally included Oakland City Councilman Noel Gallo and some local candidates running for Alameda County supervisor and state assembly.

"I'm just as responsible as the mayor and the rest of us," Gallo told KTVU. "I understand what they're saying. We are in an emergency situation and we need all the help we can get from government."  

Gallo added that he believes the problem is beyond the city of Oakland’s ability to deal with it on its own.

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he was sending 120 CHP officers to help local police with law enforcement in Oakland and other East Bay cities, adding an unspecified number of attorneys from the California Department of Justice to help prosecute crimes.

"Governor Newsom, thank you for stepping in," said Tuan Ngo, a business owner & Asians Unite founder," but you need to step up more. We need a sustained presence in Oakland. We need it."

How sustained a presence the CHP and state attorneys will have is not clear. 

Newsom and the CHP have not been specific about how long those extra resources will be in Oakland. 

 Gallo said he did not know how long Oakland would be afforded these state resources. 

"That's the question we all had," he said. "They haven't made a commitment as to how long they're going to be in Oakland. The governor had talked about license plate readers coming to Oakland. Are the cameras up yet? No."

Groups at the rally also called for a repeal of Prop. 47, which reduced the penalties for property crimes like theft and car burglaries.