A video from an Oakland, California resident highlights the extent of the city’s economic crisis after dozens of businesses have fled the area due to high crime and stringent economic regulations, leaving citizens without services or job opportunities. The crime culture has created a self-imposed food desert, with the city no longer possessing even one full-service grocery store.
All the stores in Oakland have closed down. Why is that? pic.twitter.com/t0uE4oicCk
— Catch Up (@CatchUpFeed) February 5, 2024
As Valuetainment recently reported, the Oakland location of fast food chain In-N-Out announced it was closing due to rampant crime, including car break-ins, vandalism, and armed robberies. It was the first time in the company’s 75-year history that a location has been shut down.
Violent crimes in the city rose by 18 percent between 2019 and 2022, according to the Oakland Police. Robberies rose by 37 percent and burglaries by 24 percent in 2023, according to police data reviewed by CBS’ Bay Area news service KPIX.
In September, Target announced it was closing three locations in the Oakland area, as well as several locations in Harlem, NY, Seattle, WA, and Portland, OR.
“We cannot continue operating these stores because theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests, and contributing to unsustainable business performance,” Target said in a press statement. “We know that our stores serve an important role in their communities, but we can only be successful if the working and shopping environment is safe for all.”
The Target closings left over 200 Oakland citizens without employment at the end of 2023.
In November, CBS reported that two Starbucks locations and a Subway were shuttering due to crime. Before they closed, a security guard assigned to one of the parking lots began to blow a whistle when he spotted customers leaving valuables in their cars. “[Customer at pump] number 5, carry your bag, it’s smash and grab. [Pump] Number 2, you’ve got to carry your bag. It’s smash and grab. They park behind you, sometimes, beside you,” he was heard shouting by a reporter.
The guard told CBS that he adopted the tactic because he was getting in trouble for apprehending criminals. “The criminals, I cannot touch them because of our law. They’re going to sue me. I’ve got sued already, one time,” he said.
A Raising Cane’s location went drive-thru only due to repeated crimes in the store, according to CBS.
KPIX reported in February 2022 that Community Foods, the only remaining full-service grocery store in West Oakland was closing down. The CEO told the network that a 30 percent drop in revenue during the pandemic as well as inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain issues were the culprits. He also noted that the company never had enough cash on hand to survive dry seasons, and that the low-income and high-crime neighborhood scared away other businesses, leading to decreased community investment, spending money, and capital flows.
In 2016, Walmart closed its Oakland location, and a new minimum wage mandate was speculated to be the cause: the location in San Jose (which increased the minimum wage) also closed down, while the two locations in San Leandro (which did not impose a mandate) remained open.
“I think it really is a little discouraging,” said Oakland Councilman Larry Reid at the time. “The minimum wage in the city of Oakland played a factor, was one of the factors, they considered in closing the stores.”
Shane Devine is a writer covering politics, economics, and culture for Valuetainment. Follow Shane on X (Twitter).