OAKLAND — Crime is getting so bad for some Oakland businesses that they are now having a hard time buying and maintaining their own insurance.
Adding insult to injury, a downtown business has already been stripped of its company. The owner of Awaken Cafe and Roasting said Farmers Insurance recently stopped renewing his policy after multiple claims of theft.
The owner said that the other big companies won’t provide it either. He had to buy three separate policies from different companies to cover his business.
This has created a chilling effect for other victims of theft.
“Two different incidents, so two different claims. Two different deductibles and a more than likely chance that our insurance would go up or, worst case scenario, they would cancel us,” said Dorcia White, co-owner of Everett and Jones. BBQ.
White says a burglar broke into the restaurant Monday morning and again Tuesday morning. She believes it was the same person. Surveillance video from Monday shows the thief was unable to open the safe, so he returned early in the morning with a larger tool and managed to open the safe.
In all, White estimates, the restaurant suffered losses totaling $15,000, but they decided not to file a claim after talking with their insurance broker.
“We’ve been in this building for 24 years and we’ve paid insurance without a single loss. It’s one of those things — damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” White said.
Businesses throughout Oakland and neighboring San Francisco have complained about increased crime in recent years. In fact, someone broke into a car parked in front of Everett and Jones BBQ on Friday morning even with a police patrol car parked a block away.
Crime statistics released by Oakland police from Jan. 1 to Feb. 5 of this year show 132 commercial burglaries, matching the 132 burglaries in the same period in 2022. During the same period in 2021, only 45 cases were reported.
In a news release, Oakland police said they saw an increase in commercial burglaries last week — more than 12 cases in five days. So far no one has been arrested for these cases.
“When something is taken from you, even if it’s a small amount, it can really destroy a business,” White said.
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