OAKLAND, Calif. - As crime continues to increase in Oakland, small businesses are finding it more challenging to keep their doors open.
Over the past weekend, the East Bay city reported 45 robberies and 2 carjackings, part of the "chaos" that District 6 Oakland Councilmember Kevin Jenkins says is "out of control."
According to Oakland police statistics, crime is up year over year, especially carjackings and robberies. And violent crime is up 12% since last year at this time, and robberies increased 30% year over year.
On Tuesday at 11 a.m, an armed robber held up a Citibank branch on Piedmont Avenue. It’s unknown how much the bank robber got away with.
Customers discovered the bank was closed for the day.
A sign on the door directed customers to another branch in Piedmont on Highland avenues for services.
At the same time in the Fruitvale district, a store owner made a cash withdrawal and was followed from the bank, hit from behind in a fender bender, but waved off the suspects.
The suspects continued to follow the business owner to his store, forced their way in, and wrestled to grab a bag containing $50,000 in cash. The two suspects got away.
The couple that owns the Boost Mobile store on Fruitvale shared that they offer check cashing and money transfers, saying the loss is not covered by insurance, and their business provides their only source of income.
The female owner along with her 9-year-old son and husband fought with the masked and armed robbers, who forced their way inside the store after the owner entered the business through a back door.
After wrestling with the cash bag, the owners and child backed off, when one of the suspects shouted, ‘Pop ‘em!’ Fearing they would shoot her or her family, at that point, they stopped resisting.
When sharing details of the incident, distressed and near tears, the victim shared her frustration, saying "Someone has to do something!"
Her husband said, "People don’t feel safe anymore! Especially in the City of Oakland!’
Jenkins provided a statement to KTVU about his frustration with the state of crime in the city, saying, "I’m fed up with the chaos that’s taken place in our community. Every day I get calls from neighbors about the out-of-control crime. It’s imperative that we hold those in violation accountable."
Customers of small businesses are also frustrated. Amanda Buster was shopping in Rockridge Tuesday morning and said, although she’s never been a victim of crime, she’s aware of the spike in crime, and somewhat skeptical of the reported numbers out of the police department.
"I know people who have been victims of crime and haven’t reported it, so I think reported levels of crime are often underreported," Buster said.
She shared she’s hearing and seeing more crime in some of the better neighborhoods of Oakland and said, "I do feel it’s increasing in my neighborhood. I know some neighborhoods have always struggled, mine is starting to struggle."
Oakland police spokesperson Kim Armistead said in an emailed response that the department is investigating these incidents.
Alice Wertz is a freelance reporter for KTVU Fox 2 News. She can be reached at Alice.Wertz@Fox.com or on Twitter/X @AlicesTake.