June 11, 2014
West Main Street in Charlottesville has been called an up and coming area, with several meetings discussing ways to make it a better place for businesses, residents, and pedestrians.
However, some people are finding it difficult to enjoy everything that west main has to offer as they are seeing more crime in the area.
"We just have really gotten tired of the levels of public crime that we are seeing associated with drunkenness and long term addiction problems right in this neighborhood," says Mike Signer, attorney and resident in the Fifeville Neighborhood.
The Fifeville Neighborhood is behind West Main Street and says that the a majority of the crimes he sees are alcohol related and stem from the ABC store.
"Usually they are in strip malls with a lot of parking," says Signer. "This is a very unusual situation for an ABC store."
According to police reports since 2011 there have been over 200 arrest in this area, ranging from drunk and disorderly conduct to drug possession. Local businesses say they want more security along West Main Street.
"This is the only one in Charlottesville that is really in a residential neighborhood and the other stores in town don't seem to have the problems that this has," says Laura Galgano, owner of the Blue Moon Diner.
Business owners like Galgano say that the ABC store should move once its lease is up in May of 2015
"It seems to me that with the number of shelters and homeless population that is in this area already, it doesn't seem like a smart move to have a liquor store right here in this neighborhood," says Galgano.
The City of Charlottesville is also working on ways to spruce up the street along west main.
"We are trying to beautify the area, make sure people feel safe," says David Ellis, assistant city manager for Charlottesville. “Checking the lighting in the area, making sure we have adequate lighting up and down the road way, making sure trash is picked up on a regular basis and that we don't have people sort of hanging out and getting into trouble in that area.”
Business owners say they have seen an increase in police presence in the past few weeks.