Local News

Downtown Business Owners Concerned About Crime

Posted December 3, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Would you take your car to a business where it might be vandalized? Most people wouldn't. That's why some Raleigh business owners on South Wilmington Street are asking for help from police. They say thieves are constantly breaking into cars and buildings on their property.

Business owners in a three block area of South Wilmington Street are really fed up. Night after night, they say criminals walk through their parking lots, smashing windows and often stealing valuable items from cars. The merchants say police rarely patrol the area. They are now asking for officers to help keep their properties safe.

Lin Honeycutt says two cars were broken into in the parking lot of his auto repair shop over Thanksgiving Weekend. He has spent $16,000 dollars on surveillance equipment, which often catches criminals in the act. But even so, few are arrested.

"You can sit out there for two hours and never see the first police car go by my place of business," Honeycutt explains. "I don't know why they ain't here."

Joseph Woodard has owned a printing company on South Wilmington Street for 30 years. He shares his concerns about crime with 17 other business owners who have all been victims.

"It seems to me to be escalating," says Woodward. "It's getting worse, particularly in the last six to eight months. It's almost a daily occurrence."

Raleigh Police Chief Mitch Brown says the department is committed to finding a solution. This is welcome news to merchants who say they can't do it alone.

"I can't fix it," Honeycutt admits. "No matter how much money I spend on beefing up security, it seems not to help. If anything, it's gotten worse."

The most recent crime on this street was an armed robbery next door at the ABC store Tuesday night. Both Woodard and Honeycutt have had break-ins in the past week. These crimes cost businesses thousands of dollars a year can dramatically increase their insurance payments. Chief Brown has agreed to meet with the business owners on Friday to talk about their concerns.

Editor's Note:Property crimes, including home and auto break-ins and vandalism are up during the holiday season. FBI statistics show one out of every 25 people are victims of property crimes each year.

It can be costly. Property crimes cost victims an average of $1,200 dollars in stolen goods and repairs.