OAKLAND -- Business owners who operate downtown Oakland clubs that barely survived the pandemic are dealing with an even bigger business killer: gun violence.
killed one person and injured three others. Those shootings happened near clubs and restaurants downtown and in the Uptown neighborhood.
"I've seen a major, dramatic drop [in business], almost 75 percent, almost 80," said Oscar Edwards, owner of Complex Oakland.
Edwards said his nightclub business has taken a dive compared to a few years ago.
"You add violence on top of that, that makes everybody really not want to go out," said Edwards.
He is worried the two shootings on Saturday will prevent more customers from returning to downtown businesses.
"We're going to see a decrease in business for weeks to come. Nobody wants to lose their life over trying to have a good night out," said Edwards.
Oakland police said a shooting gravely injured a man on Webster Street near 14th Street around 12:15 a.m. Saturday morning. Witnesses said a car break-in led to an exchange of gunfire between the victim and the thief.
Three hours later, police said a drive-by shooting killed one man and injured two others on Broadway. Even though they're just a few blocks apart, police said the two shootings are not connected.
"One of the shootings took place in front of one of my venues," said business owner Richard Ali.
Ali said that club has seen a 75 percent drop in business compared to a few years ago. He owns three clubs in downtown Oakland.
"You get people who are scared to come out to Downtown period. And then, you get people who are really scared of the venue. They don't want to come to the venue," said Ali.
Bar and club owners said their livelihood depends on people feeling safe to come spend money. They try to do everything to keep people safe by using metal detectors and checking customers for weapons before they enter.
"I think the biggest issue really is how many illegal guns are on the streets. I think if we can figure out a way to get rid of all these illegal guns. I mean everybody has a gun now," said Ali.
Aside from getting rid of the illegal guns, they want nighttime police foot patrols.
"It affects every business that's down here, whether it be restaurants, bars, nightclubs, event spaces. All of us suffer because nobody feels safe coming to Oakland," said Ali.
The police department told KPIX 5 they're down 73 cops from a total of 653 officers serving the city. Police say until the city can address the staffing shortage, they can't do pro-active policing.
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