Residents and business owners in Oakland’s Chinatown are planning to take public safety into their own hands following the recent layoffs at the Oakland Police Department. During the monthly Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) meeting in Chinatown last week, participants raised the idea of paying the police department to get their own police officer in Chinatown, writes Wesley Chu for the Chinese-language newspaper Sing Tao Daily.

Those who attended the meeting suggested collecting $100,000 a year from Chinatown businesses and residents in order to pay the salary of a bilingual police officer, who would be dedicated to patrolling Chinatown.

Oakland City Councilmember Patricia Kernighan noted that simply paying the salary may not be enough; police officers also enjoy annual benefits worth $80,000. Kernighan said the plan may not work, but she offered to look into it with her fellow council members.

Carl Chan, president of NCPC Chinatown, suggested a different option: hiring private security. Chan shared details of his plan with Sing Tao reporter Qiuping Han. His short-term plan is to hire private security around the time of Johannes Mehserle’s sentencing. In the long term, he hopes to set up a two- to three-year pilot program in which private security would be hired to patrol the Chinatown area, with the cost shared among property owners.

Similar plans have been implemented in other Oakland neighborhoods, Chan said. He thinks it will work in Chinatown, too.