Berkeley’s Wild, Wild West

A number of years ago, I was speaking to a young woman attending graduate school at UC Berkeley. She was a cosmopolitan woman, having lived all over the world.

I’ll never forget what she told me, “I’ve lived in Central America, in New York, and in Eastern Europe. But Berkeley is the most dangerous place that I’ve ever lived. Every one of my friends has been robbed. I can’t wait to finish school and move out of here.”

Unfortunately, since she said that, things have gone from bad to worse.

The crime is horrific and is growing by leaps and bounds every day. Here are some recent (I repeat, recent) retail robberies:

Fourth Street (the one shopping destination around here) has been deluged by robberies. Most of the crimes are brazen and during the day. Stores like the Apple Store have been stripped of their goods, with cash registers emptied. And many of the smaller stores have been robbed and ransacked as well.

The Target Store in Emeryville had a take-over robbery. Shoppers were forced to get down on the ground, while the derelicts stole merchandise, purses, wallets, and store cash. Same scenario with the Home Depot in Emeryville.

Shoplifters are robbing the pharmacies en masse: CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreen’s. Ditto for the grocery stores.

One of the Whole Foods was robbed around 5 pm. Tear gas was set off, sickening shoppers and staff and closing the store for the rest of the day. Also at that same Whole Foods, a woman was carjacked and almost killed, as she narrowly escaped while the madmen was choking her. A Lucky’s store has had so many armed robberies, with injuries, that they got permission to hire an armed guard.

Trader Joe’s had to hire security staff because of theft . . at a local CVS, the cashiers were robbed at gunpoint. Same with Pharmaca, a small pharmacy chain, where a gun was pulled on cashiers, who hurriedly gave the robbers cash.

And that is the very tip of the iceberg here.

You can’t get away from any of it. Recently, I went to a CVS during the day. While I was there, the manager was frantically calling the police. Someone was shoplifting — the very same person who was shoplifting that morning and the day before.

Police arrived too late. The frustrated manager told me that even if police come (they don’t always), they cannot do anything. The people of California voted last November to decriminalize many thefts (hence the surge in crime — Big Surprise!). So if someone steals a bunch of merchandise, the thugs usually can get away with it.

The problems with this obscene permissiveness are several fold: while a few stores have hired security guards, most have not, leaving the employees to deal with this. For minimum wage salaries, cashiers have to put their lives at stake trying to stop shoplifters.

Also, if thieves get away with stealing, that sends a clear message to all criminals out there. The stores get a reputation as easy targets; before too long, there is escalating theft and guns are pulled on employees and shoppers.

Ironically, most retail workers around here are not white people . . and don’t progressives supposedly care so much about people of color? But instead, laws are liberalized by those very same liberals. While leftists claim to be all about “the people,” those same “people” are being preyed upon by criminals.

Another consequence about the skyrocketing crime is that stores are closing left and right. A Staples store in a nearby town closed recently because of theft. A Ross Store and a JC Penney’s in downtown Berkeley closed years ago because of so much crime.

The only mall nearby to Berkeley — Hilltop Mall in Richmond — is hemorrhaging money because of the rampant crime. A JC Penney’s closed there this year. Rumors are that Macy’s, who has been cutting back hours, may be next.

In fact, it is possible that the whole mall may close — leaving one of the richest areas in the country (Berkeley, Oakland, etc.) without a retail mall! Residents would then have to drive 45 minutes to locate a department store. (1)

Now I am just writing here about robberies and burglaries of local stores. I am not documenting the horrendous street crime — the muggings, beatings, rapes, and even murders that are commonplace.

And then there is the escalating crime on BART — where emboldened criminals are seizing BART trains, terrorizing, robbing, and beating ordinary citizens. I am also not writing about the epidemic of shootings on Interstate 80; there have been literally dozens and dozens of them in the last two years, with severe injuries and fatalities.

While all of this is going, those in power aren’t doing a thing. They can’t even if they wanted to. The brainwashed populace blather words like “supremacy” “social justice,” and other empty and dangerous slogans.

And day after day, innocent people are being traumatized, robbed, and injured by the ever increasing and emboldened sociopaths. And no one seems to notice or care.

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Notes:

1. Most people don’t go to Hilltop Mall anymore because it is so dangerous over there. Not only are there thefts and robberies, but drive-by shootings are not uncommon around the mall and all over violence-plagued Richmond.

The crime isn’t just in Berkeley, either. All of the surrounding areas: Albany, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Richmond, Oakland, etc. are being ravaged by crime. And there is even crime spreading to the nicer suburbs — a Home Depot in affluent Danville was taken over and robbed; and a Rite Aid in Pleasant Hill was robbed at gunpoint recently.

By the way, a week after shoplifters were stealing from the CVS that I went into, I shopped at another CVS. As I walked in, the frantic cashier was calling the police because a bunch of thugs had just stolen merchandise from the store. As I said, you cannot get away from it even if you want to.

One last point: I don’t listen to the news. I’m not exactly well-connected, people-wise. The crimes that I described are only the ones that I’ve witnessed or have come to my attention. As I said, what I’ve written about is only the tip of the iceberg.

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