Fruitvale Village merchants in Oakland demand change after repeated acts of violence

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) — Business owners in the Fruitvale Village area of ​​Oakland are fed up with repeated acts of violence impacting their bottom line.

Now, they’ve put together a list of demands for Oakland city leaders to keep their promises to make this area safer.

Traders say that in the space of two months in this area, there have been four brazen shootings that left one dead and several injured.

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“The four situations that have happened in the last few months, in this area without any recourse,” said Dominic Prado, owner of a taco shop in Fruitvale Village.

Prado said the city was aware of the region’s problems after bringing officials, including Mayor Sheng Thao and council member Noel Gallo, here for a violence summit last month.

“Since that meeting, nothing has happened, nothing has changed, we have only seen more ongoing violence,” he said.

That’s why traders have since drawn up a list of demands for the city, including installing more cameras, parking and street changes, and adding security to the area.

“People don’t care, they stop here, they shoot, they don’t care who is passing, who is driving,” said Adnan Mohsin, owner of K Market. “You can’t sleep comfortably, I can’t travel, I can’t do anything because I’m scared, I have to stay with my kids and my business.”

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Mohsin, who owns both a convenience store and a cellphone repair shop in Fruitvale Village, says he’s had windows smashed in his stores seven times, not to mention the ATM ripped from the wall of his business. about six months ago.

” In what world are we living ? he said. “A third world country? Even if you go to a third world country, they have more security than here.”

And without being able to afford insurance which he says has skyrocketed – he plans to leave altogether.

“I’m thinking really, really hard about closing this business because I can’t put myself and my kids in danger every day for these same issues, and we have the same meeting and nothing happens,” he said. -he declares.

Councilman Gallo says he drafted a resolution to close East 12th Street but businesses and banks objected, then he worked to put a police substation here, but Fruitvale Village operators opposed.

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“We want fair attention to this area,” said Jorge Lerma, a District 5 representative on the Community Policing Advisory Board.

But there are also calls for longer-term investments in this area, with their final request to designate Fruitvale Village as a Latin cultural district.

“There’s a lot of wonderful energy, creativity in this neighborhood and it’s all being wiped out by the intense level of crime that’s out there right now,” Lerma said.

A spokesperson for Mayor Thao’s office said they were investigating the possibility of opening a satellite space for municipal services in the neighborhood and were doing a feasibility study on the possible site.

“The safety of our communities is a primary concern of Mayor Thao and his administration,” said Pati Navalta, spokesperson for Mayor Thao. “Following last month’s forum, our office worked with city departments on the requests made by the Unity Council and other participants at that time and on the larger question of how we can all work together. We have also had several conversations with the Unity Council and area residents since then to move forward with meaningful steps to improve public safety.”

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