Oakland’s only In-N-Out Burger restaurant is set to close after 18 years, despite still turning a healthy profit, as customers and staff are ‘unsafe’ due to soaring crime rates, the business said.
The Oakland, California, branch of the 75-year-old company will close its doors in March, because of the crime that has endangered the lives of patrons and staff, the company’s chief operations officer, Denny Warnick, said.
Data from Oakland’s police force earlier this month revealed that robberies had increased by a massive 38% from 2022 to 2023, the period when the city’s Democrat mayor, Sheng Thao, has been in charge.
Warnock wrote in a statement: ‘Despite taking repeated steps to create safer conditions, our Customers and Associates are regularly victimized by car break-ins, property damage, theft, and armed robberies.’
Workers at the store have the choice of being transferred to another location, or accepting a severance package.
The four stores near Oakland International Airport are major targets for thieves
The In-N-Out sits in a square mile with several gas stations that cops say are the targets of around a dozen violent crimes every day
Oakland’s Democrat mayor, Sheng Thao, (pictured) who has been in the role since January 2023, denied that her policies were the sole cause of the rising crime rates
Motor vehicle theft in particular saw a major rise, with the force reporting 44% more in 2023 compared with 2022.
Burglaries also jumped 23% from the previous year.
The In-N-Out sits in a square mile with several gas stations that cops say are the targets of around a dozen violent crimes every day.
Less than a mile away from the Chevron, a Shell gas station on Hegenberger Road is also plagued by thefts. Around five hundred yards from the Shell, another Chevron is another hotspot. And next to that, the parking lot of the In-N-Out Burger is hit daily.
Police say the criminals, who operate in well-organized groups, follow the same playbook: a spotter keeps watch for targets, usually rentals headed to or from the airport, as they pull up at the gas stations.
They then alert accomplices, who pull up in a vehicle when the targets start to pump fuel. Often, they smash a rear window or pop the trunk of unlocked vehicles before making off with luggage and valuables. The thefts take just seconds.
The spike has earned the Shell the nickname ‘America’s most dangerous gas station’. The two Chevron sites are also top contenders for the unwanted title.
Online reviews for these gas stations and the In-N-Out are flooded with dozens of complaints from customers who were hit by the crooks.
One shocking video from the In-N-Out parking lot shows a thief smash into a black SUV in broad daylight. The crook leans, feet off the ground, through the vehicle’s rear window and snatches up several items before escaping into a waiting getaway car as more than a dozen onlookers watch.
Another clip from outside the Shell shows a thief deploy exactly the same method to steal a backpack from the trunk. Feet of the ground, he leans into a smashed rear window to scoop up loot before making an escape.
The victim said he was parked for less than two minutes. ‘Stay away from this place at all costs,’ the review said. ‘The thieves were bold enough to use my credit cards at this exact gas station later in the day.’
Cars near the In-N-Out are often the target of robberies
The In-N-Out sits near Oakland Airport, and as such is a perfect target for thieves
Official crime stats for Oakland which reveal car theft has risen nearly 50 percent across the past year
A cop who was patrolling outside the Shell on Thursday told DailyMail.com: ‘This has always gone on, but not to the extent it is now.’
The officer’s assessment is backed up by official crime stats for Oakland which reveal car theft has risen nearly 50 percent across the past year. There were 8,675 car theft cases in the city in 2022, compared with 12,956 last year.
Oakland’s Democrat mayor, Sheng Thao, who has been in the role since January 2023, denied that her policies were the sole cause of the rising crime rates.
‘Crime in Oakland has been on a steady rise since 2019,’ Thao told local media, adding: ‘It is dishonest for anyone to say that crime started rising under my watch only.’
Data from the city’s police department suggests that this is only partially true.
Total homicides saw an uptick in 2019, but rates have remained relatively steady over the last three years.
Auto burglaries have been rising since 2020, reaching a new peak in 2023 that has not been seen in the past decade.
Commercial burglaries, for the most part, have also steadily increased over the last five years and have almost tripled since 2019.
But in July 2023, months after Thao took office, the Oakland Police Department was forced to issue a public safety advisory citing an uptick in home invasion robberies.’
OPD urged residents to trim hedges and shrubs to ‘eliminate potential hiding spots,’ install home security systems and use outdoor lighting with motion sensors.
Commercial burglaries, for the most part, have also steadily increased over the last five years and have almost tripled since 2019
In July 2023, months after Thao took office, the Oakland Police Department was forced to issue a public safety advisory citing an uptick in home invasion robberies’
Thao previously said her office had implemented new neighborhood strategies since then and were already seeing success.
In Chinatown, Uptown and Jack London Square areas, she said, ‘We have experienced 42 percent decrease in robberies, 32 percent decrease in auto burglaries…and a 38 percent decrease in theft and 13 percent decrease in commercial burglaries.’
Her office also plans to reinvigorate the city’s ceasefire program, which connects those at the highest risk of gun violence involvement with life coaches.
In 2013, homicides started tracking downward and hit a low of 67 in 2018. Since then, rates have been increasing, reaching 120 in 2023.
Similarly, shootings with injury began decreasing in 2013 and reached a low of 274 in 2018, only to surge to 509 in 2023.
An audit of the program by the California Partnership for Safe Communities suggests that these spikes are due to the city gradually walking away from the ceasefire strategy.
Beginning in 2016 and 2017 and accelerating in 2019 and 2020, ‘each essential element of the strategy was significantly watered down, resources stripped away, or refocused,’ the report read.
This began under Thao’s predecessor, Libby Schaff, who assumed office in 2015 and admitted last year that efforts to defund the city’s police department went ‘too far.’
It’s not only funding that plagues the city’s ability to stop crime, as many cops in the city believe that policy restrictions have taken away their ability to effectively curtail crime.
MailOnline previously spoke to Oakland police officers who said the city’s ‘restrictive’ rules forced them to let criminals get away with crime.
‘We can’t do a car chase on nonviolent crime,’ one Oakland cop said from the seat of his police cruiser.
‘I can go behind the cars and try and turn on my lights, but why would they stop?’.