In the Fruitvale Section of Oakland, Merchants Are Armed and Wary

September 2011    The New York Times

At Esparza’s Jewelry in the Fruitvale section of Oakland, the owner, Rodolfo Perez, works the counter with a .38-caliber revolver strapped to his belt.

Mr. Perez acquired the weapon after thieves stole $20,000 in merchandise in May 2010. That August, with Mr. Perez elsewhere in the store, robbers took a $2,500 ring and beat up an employee. After the second incident, Mr. Perez said, the police waited five months to take a report.

Fruitvale merchants are increasingly arming themselves, concerned that Oakland’s overburdened police force is unable to defend them against a wave of violent crime that has crippled the local economy and made them fear for their safety.

Continued at NYTimes.com

A version including audio appears at the Bay Citizen

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