RALEIGH — In an example of grass roots activism at its best, 22 Raleigh business owners joined forces to let the city know there's a crime problem on South Wilmington Street. Friday, they had their say in the police chief's office and now believe the police will help them solve this problem.
Thursday night, someone smashed the windows on two cars and stole stereos in the parking lot of G and G Automotive. This sort of thing has become a common occurrence in downtown Raleigh over the past six months.
Friday night, however, merchants believe things will be different. That's because Police Chief Mitch Brown has promised to help.
"We came out this morning, and were going to pull the vehicle in and noticed that the window was busted out of it and noticed that the radio had been taken out too," explains business owner Stewart Hill.
Hill is getting used to vandalism and theft in his parking lot. It's happened twice this week, and about eight times in the past year. That's why he joined 21 other business owners at a meeting with Raleigh Police Chief Mitch Brown. The merchants shared their concerns about crime in their neighborhood.
"Vandalism, stealing cars, breaking windows, petty stuff, but it adds up in a 6 month period," Frankie Settle explains.
After the meeting, merchants said they believe police will spend more time patroling and catching criminals in their neighborhood.
"I learned a lot about preventive methods," says David Andrews. "We had a lot of input. The Chief and his staff listened closely. I feel real positive about it."
The merchants say the best promise Brown made was to make police more visible in their area. They hope it's one he will keep.
"I think just to have their presence here more, people seeing them drive by, is going to help a whole lot," Hill says.
The business owners have also decided to form a committee which will meet on a regular basis to talk about the crime problem. They believe that if they work together they can make the area safe again.
Photographer:Lori Foushee andKerrie Hudzinski