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May 26, 2024

In-N-Out Closure Signals Growing Crime Crisis in Oakland

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Jan 24, 2024

Oakland is facing a mounting crime crisis as businesses shut down due to rampant theft, robbery, and attacks in the area. The recent announcement by beloved burger chain In-N-Out that they will permanently close their Oakland location over safety issues has drawn further attention to this pressing issue.

In-N-Out First Ever Closure Over Crime Concerns

In-N-Out Burger announced over the weekend that they will be shutting the doors to their Oakland store on the 98th Avenue due to the unrelenting crime issues in that area that have repeatedly victimized their own employees.

This marks the very first time in In-N-Out’s 76 year history that they have closed a restaurant over crime and safety issues. The quick service brand is known to be one of the most successful restaurant chains in California, with over 15 locations in the Bay Area alone. However, the drastic rise in robberies, break-ins, attacks on staff, and rampant shoplifting around their Oakland spot ultimately left them feeling they had no choice but to close up shop.

In their statement, In-N-Out said:

“After many years, our Oakland restaurant is closing permanently. We have worked hard to keep our doors open, but escalating crime issues have led us to make this difficult decision. We look forward to serving our Customers at our other locations in the East Bay.”

This store on 98th Avenue had only been open since 2017, but had already been broken into multiple times. The most recent incident in December 2023 saw a gun brandished at one of their associates.

Oakland Businesses Under Siege

Unfortunately, In-N-Out is not the only business struggling with these issues in Oakland. The store is located close to the Oakland International Airport in an area of the city that has seen crime steadily rising over the past two years.

Other restaurants and retail spaces in shopping centers along Hegenberger Road have been closing up early or hiring extra security to combat the relentless attacks. Many have also been forced to lock up basic household goods due to patrons simply walking in and brazenly shoplifting without consequence.

The local police and city officials have struggled to get the situation under control despite heightened efforts in recent months. Preventative measures put in place like street closures and increased patrolling have ultimately failed to curb the surge in crime plaguing this district.

Why Businesses Are Particularly Hard Hit

Criminals have seemingly focused heavily on targeting local businesses during this recent escalation in violence and theft. Security experts posit this could be for several reasons:

  • Easy targets – Small businesses often lack sophisticated security systems and plenty of staff or guards on site around the clock. Franchises in particular keep to strict budgets and standardized operations that leave them exposed.
  • Sellable goods – Retail shops and restaurants have products and cash that can easily be resold or used. Criminals can quickly profit from even a small haul of stolen goods.
  • Low risk – Lax enforcement and prosecution of theft, robbery, and vandalism in the area has emboldened these acts. Criminals face little downside in attempting to raid businesses.

This perfect storm has put extraordinary pressure on business owners in the area. Even major chains like In-N-Out with significant resources were eventually forced to abandon ship due to the unrelenting targeted crimes against their staff and store.

Local business owner Mr Smith said, “We are struggling. My employees are scared for their safety working here with what goes on in this neighborhood. I’ve had to invest a lot in security but it only goes so far when criminals know they can just keep coming back.”

What Happens Next?

The permanent closure of the busy In-N-Out on 98th Avenue signals thatcrime in this district is severely out of control. City officials and law enforcement are feeling renewed urgency to curb violence and theft that is now even driving out major businesses.

In early efforts to combat the escalating crisis, Oakland Mayor Barbara Halliday said:

“What happened to that In-N-Out is absolutely unacceptable. My priority is to ensure that the residents and businesses in our community feel safe.”

She vowed to continue coordination between the Oakland Police Department and Alameda County Sheriff’s Office to increase patrols along the Hegenberger corridor.

However, without addressing the underlying factors like lackluster prosecution of crimes and expanded support services for underprivileged communities feeding into crime, increased policing alone may fail to lower crime rates in the long run. Tackling socioeconomic drivers behind criminality will be equally as important as deterrents.

If significant change does not come soon, many more local businesses may follow In-N-Out’s lead and leave the area for good. The economic fallout of jobs and tax revenues lost as stores shut down could deal a devastating blow to Oakland. Turning the tide on the expanding crime wave remains critical to keeping the city’s growth and community vitality from backsliding even further.

This In-N-Out closure may only be the first of many more consequences to come if the open season on local businesses continues.

Year Violent Crimes Property Crimes Total Crimes
2019 4063 13107 17170
2020 4392 11181 15573
2021 4245 7989 12234
2022 4743 8117 12860
2023 4981 9042 14023

Crime statistics for Oakland, CA over the past 5 years showing climbing rates.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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