THUNDER BAY – Smashed windows in local businesses in the Fort William Business District have grown to epidemic levels. Over the past months, windows or doors have been smashed at The Royal Arms Cafe, Steepers Tea, Crafters, Axel’s Plumbing, and Trixxx.
This issue has been growing over recent weeks. Business owners in the area are now left in the position of either paying for the window replacements through an insurance claim or paying to fix the smashed windows themselves – either way the cost is impacting the bottom line and taking away from their businesses.
During the day in the downtown area, Thunder Bay Police offer foot patrols. However the popular program ends at the end of the business day. The issue of smashed windows happens from about 11PM until sunrise.
The long-term impact of crime in the area is difficult to judge. During the normal business day, from 9-5 the downtown area is safe.
It is during the late night often from midnight until sunrise where the scene changes. Many of the break-ins are after midnight.
However visitors to the downtown seeing the smashed windows boarded up are likely to assume that crime is a real issue that will impact them.
Thunder Bay Police have stated there are no plans to expand the foot patrols by officers.
Some of the issues could be addressed by improved lighting, greater patrols either on foot or in drive-throughs by officers, and by business owners working together.
This is an issue that must be addressed the impact on the downtown area is going to hamper the area where the new court house is set to open.
The solutions will take a solid engagement and a determination to solve the problem.