Oakland enterprise house owners wrestle to get well from pandemic amid crime – CBS San Francisco

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Oakland is now hiring more cops in hopes of reversing a dramatic increase in homicides. But other problems come with crime, and Oakland business leaders say it hurts their recovery.

“Somebody slipped through our back door and searched our till,” says Lilly Ayers, owner of Queen Hippie Gypsy. “In addition to our laptops, we all have our laptops for ours
Companies.”

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Ayers opened Queen Hippie Gypsy about three years ago and it took a lot of energy to keep going. First the pandemic, then the damage during the 2020 protests, now a recent slump. And in addition to these challenges, there is the feeling that customers are nervous.

“I think a lot of people are scared. Afraid of leaving their home, ”says Ayers. “Even in their own communities.”

“One of the things we keep talking about both in our organization and as our five-chamber coalition, our only Oakland coalition, is the importance of our business ecosystem,” said Barbara Leslie, president of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

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While the city council voted to hire more police officers, Oakland business leaders held a separate meeting warning that crime threatens to halt recovery from the pandemic.

“What is stopping us is this perception and reality of increasing public safety issues,” says Leslie. “And our employers are very concerned about putting their employees at risk.”

For business owners like Ayers, that means staying positive and moving forward.

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“So we made so many hits here in Oakland. And yet we’re still here, ”says Ayers. “And our goal is to continue to be here and persevere. But it’s tough and it was a challenge. “

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