UPDATED 10:35 AM PT – Friday, February 19, 2021
A local police department in Oakland, California is working with volunteers to quell a recent spike of violence in the community. Business owners in the city’s Chinatown took to the streets on Thursday, acting as sanctioned liaisons between residents and police officers.
This came as violent attacks and robberies have been reported in the area, with many victims too afraid to call 911 due to fear of retaliation.
— Oakland Police Dept. (@oaklandpoliceca) February 17, 2021
Business owners said they’re stepping up amid the crisis to ensure streets are safe enough for potential customers coming to the neighborhood.
“As a business person here, I feel like that the uncertainty is creating a bit of chaos,” a local business owner said. “But we are getting organized, obviously, with this crew right here. We are all volunteers, we are all business owners here. We are here to help and protect the community and hopefully make a positive change.”
Several businesses have boarded up their windows as a precaution against the recent violence, which reportedly reached a new high during the Chinese Lunar New Year.