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Downtown Business Owners Concerned About Crime

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Shattered glass has become a common sight in parts of downtown Raleigh.
RALEIGH — Would you take your car to a business where it might be vandalized? Mostpeople wouldn't. That's why some Raleigh business owners on SouthWilmington Street are asking for help from police. They say thieves areconstantly breaking into cars and buildings on their property.

Business owners in a three block area of South Wilmington Street arereally fed up. Night after night, they say criminals walk through theirparking lots, smashing windows and often stealing valuable items fromcars. 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 dollarson surveillance equipment, which often catches criminals in the act. Buteven so, few are arrested.

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

Joseph Woodard has owned a printing company on South Wilmington Street for30 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 dailyoccurrence."

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

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

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

Editor's Note:Property crimes, including home and autobreak-ins and vandalism are up during the holiday season. FBI statisticsshow 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.

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