California crime wave takes its toll on In-N-Out, other companies as businesses start to issue safety warnings

Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield and Clorox have all taken precautions for workers due to crime in Oakland

Blue Shield, Clorox, and Kaiser Permanente, the largest employer in Oakland, have all issued warnings to employees, hired security guards or taken other actions in response to a crime surge in the city. 

It is part of a significant trend of businesses, including fast food giant In-N-Out, that have been forced to take action to protect workers from criminal activity. 

In-N-Out told FOX Business that regular car break-ins, property damage, theft and armed robberies of customers and employees led to the decision to shut down its Oakland location. 

"We are grateful for the local community, which has supported us for over 18 years, and we recognize that this closure negatively impacts our Associates and their families," Chief Operating Officer Denny Warnick said in a statement. "Additionally, this location remains a busy and profitable one for the company, but our top priority must be the safety and well-being of our Customers and Associates – we cannot ask them to visit or work in an unsafe environment."


Oakland police and In-N-Out split image

Oakland police and In-N-Out split image (Getty Images / AP Newsroom)

Both Blue Shield, a health insurance provider, and Clorox provided statements to FOX Business on their response to crime in the area. 

"Blue Shield of California recognizes the public safety challenges in the City of Oakland, and we are committed to fully supporting our employees’ safety," the company told FOX Business. "We are providing various options for when they come into the office, including ridesharing services, paid parking and private security. We remain hopeful and we are counting on city, county and state leaders coming together with the community to improve safety and revitalize our city."

Clorox also said that the safety and security of its workers is its top priority, listing a series of precautions that it has taken in order to prevent workers from being victims of crime. 

"Clorox has hired additional uniformed security guards to safely escort our teammates to and from BART, parking garages, local restaurants and coffee shops, and other destinations around the area; we have conducted safety awareness trainings in partnership with BART police; and we regularly share safety messages and practices," the company wrote. "Oakland has been our global headquarters for more than 110 years, and we are committed to making the city better and safer for everyone. We’re actively working with local business leaders to identify ways we can collaborate to make Oakland safer for our collective workforce and the entire community."

This broader trend of California-based companies taking precautions against crime to protect their employees comes after a massive increase in criminal activity in recent years. 

Oakland residents have been subject to a rise in violent crime and theft across the Bay Area, with smash-and-grab robberies and reports of assaults on employees soaring. According to Oakland police, the city’s entire violent crime category increased 21% between 2022 and 2023.

Kaiser Permanente, the largest employer in Oakland, has also been affected by this trend in criminal activity. The company reportedly warned its employees to stay inside for meals after a string of local robberies, per a memo shared first by FOX KTVU.


In N Out Oakland closing

This In-N-Out location at 8300 Oakport St, Oakland, CA 94621 will be closing in March due to crime, the company says. (Google Maps / Google Maps)

Kaiser released a statement to multiple media outlets that indicated that the company was concerned about employee safety. 

"Kaiser Permanente is committed to ensuring the safety and security of our employees and physicians across all of our locations," the company wrote. "We continually monitor our environments for concerns, review our practices and strengthen them wherever possible." 

Kaiser also told FOX Business that Oakland was its "national headquarters" and that the company is "proud to serve the local community." 

"We are working with city officials and community leaders on how we can support the Oakland economy and address crime while we maintain our unwavering commitment to the city," the statement continued. 

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao told local outlet NBC Bay Area that Kaiser is a "valued employer and partner" in keeping the community safe. 

Oakland police and Kaiser Permanente split image

Oakland police and Kaiser Permanente split image (Getty Images / Getty Images)

"Oakland is making progress in addressing community safety in our business districts where many of Kaiser’s facilities are located," Thao said. "There are more police officers and safety ambassadors on the street than anytime in the past two years. At the end of last year, Oakland experienced significant reductions in property crime in business districts across the city. Oakland will remain vigilant and work collaboratively to ensure this downward trend continues and that more resources are brought to the table."

Thao's office did not respond to a request for comment from FOX Business. 

Fox News' David Rutz and Kristine Parks contributed to this report.