Monterey County

Salinas businesses discuss crime with city leaders

Community comes together to talk about safety

SALINAS, Calif. - Members of the Salinas business community gathered on Monday to discuss with city leaders how to make Salinas safer for everyone.

The meeting comes more than a week after the shooting death of a 55-year-old woman during an attempted armed robbery Aug. 15.

Business owners expressed their fears and the hope that change is coming soon.

"It's just too scary to be a business owner and basically you're risking your life," said Maria Guzman, a business owner in Salinas.

Guzman said she doesn't feel safe in her own community.

She's been a business owner on the east side for 12 years now. Just last year, her business was hit with armed robberies twice.

"I have surveillance cameras and after a certain time we close the doors and only let people in when we think it's safe," she said.

And after Sook Mi Oh was shot to death during an attempted armed robbery at the Hot Stop market on Aug. 15, Guzman is afraid that could happen to her.

"She was a very nice lady," Guzman said. "It was very sad for me to hear that happened to her."

That's why Guzman, other business owners and city leaders gathered to talk about how to fight the crime in Salinas.

Police Chief Kelly McMillin encouraged more businesses to have high-resolution cameras to monitor crime activity. Other people suggested adding more police officers on the streets, looking out for your neighbor, and activating cameras throughout the city.

Salinas business owner Stephen Kim said relationships in the city need to change.

"The community doesn't really trust the police. That has to turn around. We've got to heal this bridge that we've got," Kim said.

The frightened Salinas business owners hope they can have peace in the city and that justice will be served to get Oh's killers off the streets.

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