Vietnamese worshippers at the Buddhist shrine in a San Francisco neighbourhood
Vietnamese worshippers at the Buddhist shrine in a San Francisco neighbourhood

Buddha statue brings down neighbourhood crime

WHATEVER your beliefs, sometimes your neighbourhood just needs a Buddha statue.

This was the feeling of Dan Stevenson when he bought a 60cm tall stone figure from the hardware store to install into a council garden bed.

His Oakland neighbourhood had long been marred by crime including drug dealing, robberies, assaults and graffiti.

Stevenson thought the statue might help things.

According to SFGate news, residents immediately brought offerings to the base of the small statue.

Vietnamese women in prayer robes began to meet at the Buddha to pray.

Crime in the area, since the Buddha was installed, has fallen 82%.

Police cannot say why that is, but residents say drug dealers have gone and sex workers have moved on.

"This used to be a huge spot for dumping stuff," said one resident.

"But over time, it's blossomed with more and more and more flowers - and they are out there every morning like clockwork."

The lonely statue has now become a shrine including a large wooden structure holding tributes, portraits, foods and incense.

An attempt by hoodlums to take the statue was thwarted by the "$35 worth" of glue used to hold it in place.

The council's attempt to remove it was met with fierce opposition.

Stevenson himself said he has been left "tributes" at his door after the neighbourhood learned who was responsible.

"They left a ton of fruit and Vietnamese specialty foods and candy, but there's only me and my wife, Lu, here and we can't eat all that stuff - but it's so good," said Stevenson.

Read the full story and view the photo gallery of the shrine at SFGate


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