Security cameras installed throughout Oakland Chinatown to deter crime

In the heart of Oakland Chinatown, The gold Medal Restaurant has been serving lunch, dinner, and late-night meals for more than 30 years.

But even at noon customers were scarce at the usually popular restaurant. The owner says business is down.

But unlike many other bay area restaurant owners, she does not blame the pandemic for the downturn.

"I think crime is even worse than COVID. People are not afraid of COVID. But they are afraid of crime," said owner Gigi Ma.

But the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce is hoping new security cameras will help.

They announced Thursday the installation of the first of 20 cameras at 9th and Alice streets. They intend to post the others throughout the neighborhood.

The cameras were donated by a San Mateo Company called Verkada Inc.

"Most of the robberies taking place lately people are driving through, stop and rob and run. This can capture the incidents and hopefully deter crime as well," said Carl Chan, President of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce'.

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In one case in August, gunmen shot a man after he tried to stop them from stealing the purses of two women on 8th and Franklin Streets. His injuries were not life-threatening.

This incident followed other street robberies. The victims were Asian and many are elderly.

Oakland police say they have made arrests in some of the cases.

But the wave of attacks in Chinatown over the summer has dropped significantly in recent weeks.

Oakland police have added more foot patrols working overtime among other violence suppression efforts.

"Since they've been deploying additional police resources in Chinatown we have almost zero incidents for the past few weeks," says Chan.

The additional cameras are expected to be installed around Chinatown within the next month.