OAKLAND (KCBS) – Armed security guards will soon be hired to protect taco truck vendors and push cart operators in East Oakland, a group representing the merchants announced Monday.
Members of the Association of Mobile Vendors will spend between $400 and $1,200 a month for private security to supplement existing police patrols, said spokeswoman Shelly Garza.
“They’re not only just going with the armed guards. They’re going to take other approaches as well,” such as security cameras, Garza said.
KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:
Each of the association’s 126 members has reported being robbed or assaulted at some point, she said. The turning point came when 5-year-old Gabriel Martinez was shot and killed outside his family’s taco truck on New Year’s Eve.
“Some of the trucks want security guards to stay on the site,” she said, while other trucks would share roving security guards that patrols a wider area.
Garza said some food vendors have stopped calling police when they are robbed because officers are often slow to respond, or are reluctant to take file a report when they do answer a call for service.
City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente acknowledged that mobile food vendors in his district had been easy targets of criminals for decades, and lamented the added cost for business owners operating on tight margins.
“I support them. They want to protect their families, their businesses and the customers,” he said.
“I feel sad that they have to go to their own expense.”
The vendors expect the new security guards to be in place by Saturday.
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