Video shows a woman being pistol-whipped and dragged by two assailants in Oakland last week – as the city continues to grapple with surging crime rates across every major category.
The shocking incident of violence unfolded this past Wednesday at 6:15 pm on International Boulevard, and left the unidentified woman with severe injuries, police investigating in the East Bay city said.
Footage shows how the woman was run up on by men, who exit a car before removing several items from her person. The woman is then violently struck with the weapon.
She is then seen falling to pavement in agony, before being pulled across the floor by her purse as both men run her pockets. Both men remain at large, and the woman’s condition as of Tuesday is unknown.
It serves as just a small example of what’s occurring across the city, which like its sister across the river, for the past few years has been plagued with high crime.
As a result, business owners are now likening the area to a ‘battleground’ akin to wartime Vietnam, and the stretched-thin city’s police force is instructing residents to secure their homes.
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Video shows a woman being pistol-whipped and dragged by two assailants in Oakland last week, before 15 different robberies and two carjackings were recorded over the weekend. As of Tuesday, most are still being investigated
WEEKEND ROBBERY SPREE: A map shows the several reported incidents of robbery over the weekend – which has caused business owners to liken the notoriously urban area to a ‘battleground’, and cops to instruct residents to secure their homes
Unlike San Francisco, though, Oakland has been hit by increasing incidents of violence – with assaults, carjackings, and robberies all reaching record highs not seen since the 90s.
As scared business owners liken the notoriously urban area to something out of a war flick, leaders of the NAACP’s Oakland branch have called on officials to declare a state of emergency – as incidents of auto burglary and and motor vehicle theft have nearly doubled since 2021.
Speaking with several local news outlets over the weekend, Bruce Vuong, a Vietnamese national who owns an autoshop blocks from where the woman was brutalized, likened the area to his country during its infamous war. Ironically, the neighborhood is already named Little Saigon.
‘Oakland has become a war zone,’ Vuong, who has owned and operated Quality Tech Automotive Shop on International for 35 years, told ABC’s local affiliate Tuesday.
‘It feels like a battleground to go to work,’ he said, remarking how even with all his years of experience – which stems back to the city’s infamous gang violence days of the 1990s – the crime seen over the past two or so years has proved unprecedented.
This past weekend, Oakland was hit by 15 different robberies and two carjackings – most of which are still being investigated.
Days before, another incident remarkably similar to the one seen in the August 16 footage occurred in Vuong’s neighborhood – spurring him and 30 other fed-up shop owners and residents to call a closed-door meeting Friday to discuss the conditions.
Media was not invited to the event, but reportedly among those in attendance was local Councilmember Nikki Fortunato-Bas, and a captain with the Oakland Police Department – which saw two of its deputies injured in two attacks by incarcerated inmates Saturday.
Vuong told NBC Bay Area that nearly everyone in attendance, including the storeowner himself, had recently found themselves a target of thieves or incidents of violence.
‘I seen crime that I thought when I left Vietnam I wouldn’t see anymore,’ he told the station Friday, hours after Mayor Sheng Thao, who inherited the city’s crime woes from predecessor Libby Schaaf this year, again vowed to make addressing illegal acts her top priority.
Footage shows how the woman was run up on by men, who exit a car before removing several items from her person. During an ensuing struggle, the woman bravely hangs on – before being struck by one of the robbers’ weapons
She is then seen falling to pavement presumably in agony, before being violently pulled across the floor by her purse as both men run her pockets. Both men remain at large, and the woman’s condition as of Tuesday is unknown
Data shows the city’s current crime epidemic – in which rates across nearly every major category have increased dramatically since well before the pandemic
As business owners like Bruce Vuong – who owns an automotive shop on the block where the woman was targeted – liken Oakland to something out of a war flick, citizens and other frustrated storeowners have called on officials to declare a state of emergency
Days before, another incident remarkably similar to the one seen in the August 16 footage occurred in Vuong’s neighborhood (seen here) – spurring him and 30 other fed-up shop owners and residents to call a closed-door meeting Friday to discuss the conditions
‘I seen crime that I thought when I left Vietnam I wouldn’t see anymore,’ the Vietanamnese national said Friday, hours after Mayor Sheng Thao (pictured in an interview about the crime wave last week), who inherited the city’s crime woes upon assuming office this year, again vowed to make addressing illegal acts her top priority
‘But now, we get the same thing here’, Vuong said, not mentioning if there had been any headway at the conference.
Of the encounter the day earlier, where the woman was dragged, Vuong remarked: ‘She didn’t deserve this – [to be dragged] like a dog or something, I mean.’
Speaking to ABC7, he added: ‘That’s life in Oakland now.’
The owner of 11 businesses across the city, Vuong went on to describe his own firsthand experience with the city’s current crime epidemic, which, despite being more than a year removed from Covid-related lockdowns, seems to have reached a tipping point this year.
As homicides have also surge by some 37 percent compared with 2019, reported robberies are up by about 30 percent – and Vuong says that each of his stores are robbed almost once a week.
Last week – amid this particularly pronounced string of robberies that caused Shen to once again address the crisis in a matter of months – after being targeted for what he said was the umpteenth time, he got fed up and fought back.
‘I was helping my employees pick up stranded Triple A drivers and within seconds my tow truck was gone,’ he said, recalling how one of the robbers in this case entered his tow truck before destroying cameras that had been inside and taking off.
Still inside the car, though, was Vuong’s phone – which unbeknownst to the robber possessed software that enabled the storeowner to track it, and then give chase.
‘We chased him for at least 45 minutes from West Oakland to East Oakland to Berkeley and we finally stop him at Telegraph and 30th,’ he recalled of how he got his tow truck back, adding that it needed $20,000 worth of repairs.
That said, perhaps the most troubling part of Vuong’s account was local police’s response to the incident – which he said was nonexistent. Instead, the call had to be handled by officers from the state’s highway patrol.
‘We asked for help but there’s no authority to help out,’ he said. ‘We tried calling OPD – no answer – so CHP showed up.
‘It’s just ridiculous Oakland is no longer Oakland anymore,’ he said of the city’s dire straits.
Last month, Oakland cops urged residents to secure their homes amid a rise in brazen burglaries while residents are inside their homes
Oakland Police Department (OPD) said some of the worst-hit areas have been Laurel, North Hills, Joaquin Miller, and the Greater San Antonio area. Pictured: One of the attacks last year
It serves as just a small example of what’s occurring across the city, which like its sister across the river, for the past few years has been plagued with high crime
It comes as North Oakland has seen a a 22 percent increase in robberies and 18 percent increase in violent crime this year.
Murder levels abruptly spiked from the 78 seen in 2019 to 109 in 2020 – the same years calls for defunding the police, spurred by the Black Lives Matter movement, were introduced in earnest.
Last month, Oakland cops urged residents to secure their homes – including by trimming hedges and shrubs so thieves have nowhere to hide – amid a rise in brazen burglaries while residents are inside their homes.
Police warned about an ‘uptick in home invasion robberies’ including cases of robbers armed with guns kicking down doors before threatening homeowners and stealing their belongings.
Oakland Police Department (OPD) said some of the worst-hit areas have been Laurel, North Hills, Joaquin Miller, and the Greater San Antonio area.
Last year, then-Oakland mayor Schaaf admitted efforts to defund her city’s police department went ‘too far’ after it saw violent crime surge to levels not seen in 15 years following the movement’s introduction in the summer of 2020.
Her comments came after the city council passed a resolution in 2021 to defund its police department by $17 million despite a 90 per cent increase in murders – a move criticized by Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong, who said at the time that ‘crime is out of control’ in the city.
‘When we saw this surge come up during the pandemic – and, let’s also be honest, after George Floyd, after this country just saw its faith in government justice compromised – we were just heartbroken,’ Schaaf added.
Despite this, a 2022 investigation by ABC 7 found that the Oakland Police Department’s budget increased nearly 18 percent from 2019 to 2022.
But the city’s crime crisis has only worsened.
Last week, a British maritime security guard, 49, was shot dead near an Oakland park as he returned to his ship after a night out.
Satyan Dave, from London, had only hours earlier arrived in the city aboard a container ship that had travelled close to Somalia.
Police in the violence plagued city said he was shot dead at 5.15am close to International Boulevard, one of East Oakland’s main thoroughfares.
The Oakland PD has been hit hard by the influx of crime – after it was sued over claims they let an abusive squatter (seen here being arrested in April) inflict a campaign of terror on his neighbor, which culminated in the victim being shot dead. Suspect Jamal Thomas pictured
Armstead had recently moved into the home on 76th and Ney with his pregnant second wife, Melina, and his three children, when the harassment began. He was in the process of moving them out when he was shot by Thomas, who was squatting in the home next-door (seen here)
The wrongful death suit alleges the Oakland Police Department failed Oakland father Miles Armstead, who is survived by four children and his wife and called the department dozens of times over the course of six months
The department has been sued over claims they let an abusive squatter inflict a campaign of terror on his neighbor, which culminated in the victim being shot dead as he fled his home with his pregnant wife and three children.
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed in federal court on behalf of the family of slain Miles Armstead, who had been moving his family out of their Ney Avenue home in May 2020 when he was shot in the back of the head by now-jailed Jamal Thomas.
On the day of his murder, Amstead and his wife Melina had decided to cut their losses on the home they’d saved hard to buy, only for Thomas to ambush them and kill Amstead as they tried to flee.
They’d previously called Oakland Police Department 23 times begging for help, only for cops there to turn a blind eye. Officers also allegedly mocked Amstead’s plight by dismissing him and Thomas as being ‘like two twelve year-old girls.’
The fatal act of aggression, cops said at time, served as the culmination of a monthlong faceoff between the two men, which allegedly began after 46-year-old Thomas illegally occupied the house next door after being evicted months earlier.
Oakland has also seen an uptick in car thefts over the last months in typically quire areas.
So far this year there have been 369 carjackings in the city, per officials. That’s up 24 percent when compared to the same time two years ago, when there were 298.
This data set shows the number of chronic homelessness in the US. This is categorized as people who have a disabling condition who have been unhoused for a year or more. Oakland and San Francisco are among the worst offenders when it comes to homelessness
The US housing market is also currently in the midst of an unprecedented decline in home prices – with properties in the Bay Areas selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars less than they were just a year ago.
Two cities in the affluent region – Oakland and is more well-off counterpart across the river in San Francisco – are among the worst offenders when it comes to decline by dollar amount.
researchers blame the phenomenon on diminishing demand due to rising rates of crime and homelessness, and the looming possibility of a recession.
Other notable declines occurred in other major metros like Austin, Boise, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Los Angeles – all of which saw their median home price shed at least $60,000 since April of last year.
Many of those decreases were fueled by a mass migration of workers out of major hubs amid the advent of remote work, data shows – while many others were forced out to safety brought on by the dueling crises
Compounding the cities other simultaneous calamities, the homeless crisis is also tormenting downtown LA – where tent cities are rife with individuals smoking drugs, while others hawk stolen goods on street corners.
Places like Oakland and San Francisco in California have become hotbeds for homelessness, as people living on the streets are like ‘drug tourists’ who arrive to have easy access to narcotics.