OAKLAND, Calif. - Businesses in Oakland closed their doors on Tuesday over concerns about crime.
The effort, co-organized by Oakland Chinatown leader, Carl Chan, follows a recent spike in car break-ins, robberies, and retail theft around the city. Organizers have claimed more than 200 businesses would participate in the strike.
Some of those businesses say they will close for the entire day, while others were expected to shutter from 10 a.m. until noon.
"If things don’t turn around in Oakland, we will not be able to survive. It is just that grave at this point," said Kevin Johnston, the owner of Portal near Lake Merritt. "I’m going to be closed all day tomorrow. I’m going to lose money. But I’ve got to make the stand."
Johnson said his restaurant has been broken into multiple times, and that his staff and customers have also had their cars broken into. Lawlessness his staff says has caused 50% of the restaurant's longtime regulars to stop coming in all together.
The owner of nearby Todos said her restaurant has also suffered from crime, and that she plans to close for part of the day tomorrow.
"You know we book these events, and I sign a contract, and then the guest walks south to their car, and their car just got bipped. [They] pull the contract from us, and we just lost a party of 120. That is what’s happening," said Elke Tatad, the owner of restaurant, Todos.
Tatad said her restaurant has also been burglarized multiples times. She is participating in the strike. She says business owners complaints to the city have been ignored.
"We’ve met with [city leaders] several times and the response has been for us to hire private security," said Tatad.
Several business owners said the City of Oakland's failure to meet a deadline for grant money to combat retail theft, amounted to the final straw, and left them no choice but to speak out through the strike.
"It’s absolutely not something we want to do, but it is in solidarity with all the businesses," said Ryan Dixon, who owns restaurant, Calavera. The restaurant normally opens at 11:30 a.m. They planned to be closed half an hour due to Tuesday's event.
"If not, there will be more businesses that will close. So we may sacrifice maybe one day, people may close the entire day, or maybe two hours, but that is a time when we have to say enough is enough," said Oakland Chinatown leader Carl Chan, who helped co-organize the strike. Chan is asking the governor and Alameda County to step in with aid and additional law enforcement.
Dozens of striking business owners gathered from 10 a.m. until noon in front of 1007 Clay Street in Oakland, the site of Le Cheval an iconic city restaurant that recently announced its plans to close at the end of the month due to crime.
Over the weekend Chan declined to provide a full list of participating businesses to the Chronicle.
KTVU reached out to the mayor of Oakland's office about the strike, but did not hear back in time for this report.