A community leader in Oakland’s Chinatown has urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a local state of emergency to help end violence in the neighborhood and across the city.
Background: The Chinatown has suffered a series of violent crimes in recent months, many of which targeted Asian Americans. As recently as Saturday, a daylight robbery near the corner of 8th and Franklin Streets left a Good Samaritan with gunshot wounds.
- In a two-paged letter to Newsom’s office, Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, called for the deployment of additional measures to curb such crimes. Chan himself fell victim to an attack earlier this year.
- “Governor Newsom, we want you to do this. Declare a State of Emergency for the city of Oakland,” Chan said at a press event Tuesday. “We want you to bring in the California Highway Patrol. I am not only asking for patrolling Chinatown. I am asking to send the police, the CHP to the city of Oakland — all areas. We need your help.”
- Saturday’s incident joins “an alarming trend in robberies” under investigation at the Oakland Police Department. As of Aug. 8, 78 homicides were reported, up from 54 by the same date last year and 49 in 2019, as per the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Chan partly blamed the rise in violence on the “defund the police” movement. He also criticized the justice system and district attorneys who are too lenient with repeat offenders.
- “The recent actions to defund the police by a majority of the Oakland City Council members further exacerbate the dire situation,” Chan said, according to KRON 4.
“I’m calling on the silent majority. It’s time for us to speak out. It is time for us to make changes because enough is enough.”
2 men escape after they try to rob 2 women of their purses at 8th & Franklin in Oakland’s Chinatown. Two witnesses are hurt – one is shot & wounded, the other pistol-whipped. @oaklandpoliceca investigating pic.twitter.com/S5rPKsokAk
— Henry K. Lee (@henrykleeKTVU) August 9, 2021
What others are saying: Councilmember Loren Taylor was the only city leader to join Chan at Tuesday’s event, according to NBC 4. However, he refused to sign Chan’s letter, saying that policing is just one solution to address the issue.
- “Officers are one of many parts of the solution to keep our community safe,” Taylor said. “I’m not ready to commit for CHP to come [to Oakland] until we have that level of conversation.”
- On the other hand, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong agreed with Chan’s comments and admitted that his department has been stretched too thin. “Well, I think they’re right in the sense that this department needs more resources and more help,” Armstrong told KPIX 5.
- The department is currently accepting help from the FBI and the ATF to clear open cases, but they remain overwhelmed. Armstrong said they would make more adjustments to cover the rise in crimes.
Neither Newsom nor the CHP has made a public response to Chan’s letter as of this writing.
Featured Image via KTVU FOX 2 San Francisco