The closure of an In-N-Out Burger restaurant in Oakland due to crime issues is “heartbreaking” but necessary, observers say
Fast food chain In-N-Out is a staple in California, but its only location in Oakland announced Sunday that it will have to close its doors amid a crime outbreak.
The Oakport Street location, a highly profitable location, will close its doors on March 24, according to an announcement from the company’s CEO.
“We have made the decision to close our In-N-Out Burger location in Oakland, California, due to ongoing issues with crime,” Denny Warnick, In-N-Out’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. “Despite taking repeated steps to create safer conditions, our customers and partners regularly become victims of vehicle break-ins, property damage, theft and armed robbery.
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“We are grateful to the local community, who have supported us for over 18 years, and recognize that its closure is negatively impacting our associates and their families,” he added. “In addition, this remains a busy and profitable location for the company, but our top priority must be the safety and well-being of our customers and partners – we cannot ask them to visit or work in an unsafe environment.”
This is also the first time In-N-Out has had to close a location.
“There have been several In-N-Out Burger locations that have required relocation over the course of their 75 years, however, our Oakland store will be the first location we close,” Warnick told FOX Business. “We feel that the frequency and seriousness of the crimes faced by our customers and partners leaves us with no alternative.”
Workers there will reportedly have the option of getting severance packages or being transferred to other In-N-Out locations.
The decision made national news, with one writer for the business magazine Inc. calling it It’s “heartbreaking.”
Ted Jenkin, CEO of oXYGen Financial, said the closure of the In-N-Out location should signal to the city of Oakland that there is a serious crime problem that needs to be addressed.
“You can’t have a police car in every business 24/7,” Jenkin told FOX Business. “The only way more major businesses will not be able to close their doors is for perpetrators to realize that there will be serious consequences for break-ins, property damage, theft, and especially armed robberies.”
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He added: “Local leaders must seriously prosecute those who commit these crimes.” “Without complying with the law, more quality companies will come to the same conclusion as In-N-Out Burger, which is that juice is not worth squeezing at the expense of people’s safety.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that In-N-Out is a “convenient stop” for passengers heading to Oakland International Airport as well as sponsors of the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum. Since 2019, police have recorded 1,335 accidents near the fast food restaurant, more than anywhere else in the city, according to the report.
An Allied Universal security guard told the San Francisco Standard that they receive more reports of theft at the soon-to-be-closed location than any other location they patrol. Another security guard from Brosnan Risk Consultants told the outlet that they see several break-ins at the fast food location daily.
“On a normal day, I’d say five,” the anonymous security guard said. “On a bad day, I can’t even get a report because it’s coming from behind.”
On Tuesday between 6 and 7:30 p.m., the outlet reportedly saw three cars with smashed windows in the parking lot outside the fast food restaurant.
In the past 90 days, there have been 170 car burglaries in Oakland, which in California is defined as entering a locked vehicle with the intent to steal it or steal the property inside. In 2022, there were 9,092 car burglaries reported in the city, an increase of 7% from 2021, which saw 8,477 car burglaries across the city.
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Shawn Crawford, who works in a nearby In-N-Out building, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he saw thieves breaking down the doors of work trucks and heard customers confronting the thieves. He also said he and some co-workers saw a car stop at the In-N-Out line where two people got out and moved from car to car, robbing people at gunpoint.
Capt. Casey Johnson, who oversees police operations throughout East Oakland, said many incidents in the area start as crimes of opportunity and turn violent.
“People think of robberies as someone pulling a gun and saying, ‘Give me your money,'” Johnson told the Chronicle. “These are more carjackings turning into burglaries.”
Councilwoman Treva Reed, whose district includes the airport corridor, attends biweekly meetings with business owners to discuss problems and solutions for the area, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. In addition, Auckland Mayor Sheng Thao said she has made the safety of “children, families, businesses and visitors” a top priority.
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Fox News Alexandria Hernandez contributed to this report.