Oroville Business Owners Voice Concerns About Vandalism and Homeless Encampments
Four Oroville business owners attended a city council meeting on Tuesday to express their concerns regarding recent incidents of vandalism, threats, and thefts from homeless individuals near their establishments.
Located near Mitchell Avenue and Lincoln Street, these business owners shared their experiences with reporting crimes to the police and urged the council to find an immediate solution to the issue.
One of the business owners, Jamie Sorensen, who owns North Valley Tackle, described the situation as a “crime wave” and invited people to visit his shop to witness the ongoing nocturnal activities captured by his $4,000 security cameras installed to combat the problem.
Increasing Crime Wave
Sorensen explained that multiple businesses, including Papacito’s Mexican Grill and Cantina, Pieces of Love Quilt Shop, Emily Jackson Realtor, H&R Block, Tammy G Nail Salon, Oroville Flower Shop, and B True Designs, have been victims of vandalism, theft, and significant damage. He emphasized that this situation constitutes a crime wave that requires prompt attention.
Business Owners Seek Immediate Solutions
During a meeting held on Thursday, business owners discussed the issue further, with some council members present, according to Mayor David Pittman.
Sorensen noted that after the meeting, the Oroville Police Department took action against the nearest “problem homeless camp,” leading to a decrease in foot traffic and offering temporary relief.
However, he stressed that the business owners are not interested in long-term solutions such as finding housing or recovery services for the homeless individuals. Their primary concern is the safety of their business district, and they want the council to devise a plan to relocate the homeless population away from their establishments.
Call for Action
Allen Cartwright, another business owner with longstanding roots in Oroville, raised the issue of how the community should address the problem. He suggested either a vigilante system or community service as potential remedies.
Meanwhile, Dan Harvey, owner of Shakey’s Pizza, expressed the daily challenges faced by business owners, including cleaning up trash every morning and dealing with increased fire insurance rates due to dumpster fires caused by homeless individuals.
Harvey recounted an incident where a man spread feces inside his restaurant, forcing him to close for a few hours. However, when he reported the incident to the police, he was met with the response, “What do you expect us to do about that?”
Impacts on Local Businesses
Emily Jackson, owner of Oroville Flower Shop and a third-generation business owner, expressed concerns about the safety of her business and her employees. She mentioned instances of repeated gas siphoning from her delivery van and the increasing presence of trash and human waste around her establishment.
Jackson shared that every time she contacted the Oroville Police Department, their response was either helplessness or advice to install more cameras. Faced with ongoing safety concerns, she revealed that she may have to consider closing her business instead of passing it on to her daughter, as she does not want to put her in harm’s way.
Policing and Support
Oroville Police Chief Bill LaGrone, who attended the Thursday meeting, acknowledged the communication issues regarding homeless camps and assured the business owners that the city will work on improving their approach towards residents affected by the problem.
Mayor David Pittman expressed his willingness to address the issue by adding it to the agenda for future council meetings. He also suggested that affected residents reach out to State Senator Brian Dhale to report their damages and challenges.
The concerns raised by Oroville business owners underline the urgent need for action to combat vandalism, threats, and thefts caused by homeless individuals near their establishments. The business owners are seeking immediate solutions from the city council to ensure the safety and viability of their businesses.