Downtown Binghamton Business Owners Concerned About Crime, Safety
The operators of several Binghamton businesses want the city to do more to address criminal activity, including shootings, assaults and vandalism.
Some downtown business owners have expressed growing frustration in recent weeks about incidents that have made employees and customers fearful for their safety.
In one case, a bullet damaged the window of a parked vehicle. In another recent incident, a large window at De Island Hut, a Washington Street restaurant, was shattered.
A restaurant employee said someone apparently fired a BB gun at the window just before Thanksgiving. He expressed disappointment that no one was being held responsible for the damage.
Mayor Jared Kraham told WNBF News that he's had conversations about crime concerns with downtown business owners.
The mayor said while he believes downtown is safe, there have been public safety issues. He said the problems include violent crime, vandalism and things like aggressive panhandling.
Kraham noted that in October, steps were taken to address issues that were linked to the operation of the Salvation Army meal program on Washington Street. He said the agency made changes to address some of the concerns raised by business operators.
The mayor said the city has been spending money this year to add police foot patrols downtown to interact with businesses. He said those patrols "have yielded hundreds of positive interactions."
Some business operators have said they've heard from customers who've had bad experiences downtown indicate they won't be returning. The business people said they hope the city can take additional action to enhance public safety.
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