Did This Buddha Statue Save a Crime-Ridden Neighborhood?

The Buddha statue has been known to bring prosperity and positivity. It stands for the hope for peace and harmony.

One Oakland man, who is neither a Buddhist or religious, discovered this for himself after placing a two-foot-high stone statue of Buddha on a median strip in the center of a crime-ridden neighborhood in Oakland.

Dan Stevenson had watched his community suffer from graffiti, garbage dumping, dope dealing, robberies and prostitution for far too long.

Back in 2009, he purchased the figure from an Ace Hardware store with the intention of cultivating good vibes at the intersection of 11th Avenue and 19th Street. But he probably never imagined making such a drastic impact.

Soon after installing the Buddha, Stevenson noticed that residents were starting to leave gifts and offerings at its base, such as candles, food and flowers. There were even a small group of Vietnamese women who would visit the statue regularly to pray.

That’s when the dodgy neighborhood of Eastlake changed. Prostitutes and drug dealers stopped using this area for business, people stopped littering, gangs quit vandalizing the vicinity with graffiti and all around, things just got better.

According to crime statistics obtained by SFGate journalist Chip Johnson from police, since 2012 (around the time people began praying daily near the statue), crime in the area dropped by 82 percent!

“I can’t say what to attribute it to, but these are the numbers,” a police statistician explained.

Every morning at 7 am, worshipers flock to the Buddha to light incense and chant their prayers.

Now part of an ornate shrine, the statue is encapsulated in a 10-foot wooden structure that holds smaller figurines, food, fruit and artwork.

“The dope-dealing has stopped, the ladies of the evening have stopped,” neighborhood resident Andy Blackwood said.