Homelessness, open-air drug dealing and aggressive beggars are issues that residents of the community have noticed.
Buffalo, N.Y. — Allentown has long been recognized as one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Western New York. But on Tuesday, residents and businesses said it was not the Allentown they once knew, with many locals afraid to leave their homes amid rising crime.
“I would say it was fine two years ago,” said Yasin Abdullah, owner of the Allentown restaurant.
“It’s a lot calmer. But I think, in terms of the pandemic, crime in general is going up everywhere.”
The shooting of two bullet holes and two people outside his restaurant on Saturday morning was the last straw for Abdullah, which has him now questioning whether it is time for a change.
“You have to weigh your options and ask yourself — what business you’re running and what area you’re running. Is it worth it?” he said.
Abdullah is not alone in feeling this way. Patty MacDonald, president of the Allentown Society, believes that homelessness and chaos flooding the streets have become commonplace since the start of the pandemic and the ongoing $13 million construction project.
“When the place is a mess and there’s litter all over the place, when the litter isn’t picked up, when there’s debris, when it’s a mess all over the place, people think they can do whatever they want in that place because no one’s paying attention,” MacDonald said.
That’s why, at the Allentown Society’s annual board meeting on Tuesday night, MacDonald and her board members called for more volunteers to participate in the community’s crime and safety committees, more night patrol officers and better police departments. communicate to resolve these issues.
“We really need more attention,” MacDonald said.
“It would make us all a little safer.”
Jim’s Steak Out also told 2 On Your Side in a statement that it is discussing closing its Allentown store if conditions don’t improve after construction ends.
“I find drug paraphernalia in the toilet every day,” said its owner Sean Richter.
“I had a window shot out in the middle of the night. I was broken into and made people watch the video, but nothing was done.”