OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The FBI on Monday announced it getting involved in the fight to crack down on in crime in Oakland’s Chinatown.
Locals have been voicing their frustration with law enforcement following an spike in criminal activity over the past year, particularly in assaults and robberies targeting older Asian residents.READ MORE: UPDATE: Many in East Bay Still Without Power
In mid-July at Harrison and 9th street, two women of Chinese descent were attacked in broad daylight. As seen in surveillance footage of the incident, three people jumped out and assaulted the two women.
According to the women, the assailants hit them in the head and kept punching them, ultimately stealing their purses. That attack and robbery was the second such incident captured on video near that intersection in the space of 24 hours.
In that robbery, footage showed a car pulling up before two men — one armed with a gun — who stepped out and robbed a disabled man with a cane. Police said the victim is in his 50s.
The surveillance footage showed a bicyclist trying to stop the robbery. A robber pointed a gun with an extended clip at the Good Samaritan and warned him to back off before he pistol whipped the bicyclist.
At Monday’s, Oakland’s police chief, the FBI special agent and other Bay Area leaders announced they would work together to curb crime in Chinatown.READ MORE: Menlo Park Man Stabbed at Party
Authorities said more uniformed officers would be on the streets in Chinatown, with some working overtime. The FBI’s involvement includes changes in strategy, such as new training programs and more aggressive tactics. Some are also advocating for stricter punishments for the perpetrators of these street crimes.
At the Monday press conference, OPD Chief LaRonne Armstrong said that the idea of attacks on senior citizens becoming commonplace is “clearly unacceptable.”
He also called on any residents who recognized the suspects in the videos or who had any information about the incidents to step forward.
“At the Oakland Police Department, we’ve been looking at these incidents. We’ve released video to the public because we truly do need the public’s help,” said Armstrong. “Somebody knows the individuals who were responsible for the crimes and we hope they feel it is important, a civic duty, to report it.”
Special Agent Craig Fair of the San Francisco FBI office also spoke about ongoing investigations by his office.
“In the last two weeks, the FBI in San Francisco has initiated two new investigations stemming from bias against the AAPI community,” said Fair. “And we are working aggressively with our partners in law enforcement in the Bay Area to combat the threat and solve those cases.”MORE NEWS: One Dead, Three Wounded In Early Sunday Morning Shooting In Oakland's Uptown Neighborhood
Armstrong also said that robberies in Oakland are up 15%, and urged the public to aid the police in bringing a stop to these crimes. Despite surveillance footage, many of the recent robberies have not led to arrests, leaving any potential suspects at large. Anyone with information on the recent assaults is asked to contact the Oakland Police Department.