Dan Stevenson, an 11th Avenue resident of Oakland, CA, who is not religious nor Buddhist, purchased a 2-foot stone statue of Buddha at Ace Hardware and installed it on a median strip at 11th Avenue and 19th Street. He hoped that his gesture would bring tranquility to a neighborhood marred with graffiti, prostitution, robberies, dumping and assault. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. Area residents began leave offerings such as flowers, food and candles at the base of the statue. And the neighborhood changed – crime has dropped by 82%. Drug dealers stopped using that area to deal and prostitutes went away. Robberies went from 14 down to 3, assaults from 5 to 0 and there is no longer dumping. In fact, a group of Vietnamese women in robes gather at the statue for daily prayers.
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