Ali Shami, owner of Salam Halal Market in West Oakland, has experienced three break-ins in the past five months. Despite the challenges, he remains committed to his business and the city he calls home. However, on Tuesday, he will join a citywide strike, along with 200 other businesses, to protest the escalating crime rate in Oakland.
Shami has taken measures to protect his store, including installing security cameras and removing the ATM machine, which was the primary target of the burglaries. Yet, he highlights the additional financial burden of operating a business in a high-crime area, such as increased insurance costs.
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao addressed the planned strike, stating that the city is aware of the issue and is taking steps to combat crime. These measures include the installation of 300 surveillance cameras around the city by November, collaboration with the California Highway Patrol and the FBI, and other initiatives passed recently.
Another local business owner, who also goes by the name Ali, expressed his understanding of the complex issues contributing to crime, including lack of employment opportunities. However, he emphasized that the responsibility of addressing crime should not fall solely on the police. He, too, will be closing his store on Tuesday in solidarity with the strike.
The strike is seen as the first of many actions to draw attention to the crime issue in Oakland, with further protests planned, including potential demonstrations in Sacramento to ensure their concerns are heard by politicians.
Read more at ABC7 News.