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Edmonton’s Chinatown community fed up with crime, vandalism: ‘Nobody feels safe’

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A recent rash of crime and vandalism in Edmonton's Chinatown area has some business owners fed up. This comes as the local business association says ongoing calls to the city of Edmonton for more security and cleaner streets are falling on deaf ears. Chris Chacon reports – Jan 22, 2022

Businesses in Edmonton’s Chinatown said a recent increase in crime could be the end for them. The local business association said its calls for more security and cleaner streets are not being answered.

“It’s too much, nobody can take it anymore. It’s a tipping point,” Chinatown and Area Business Association executive director Wen Wong said.

Surveillance video captured outside of Edmonton’s Pacific Mall in Chinatown last week shows an individual smashing several store-front glass windows with a hammer.

“Nobody feels safe, our customers are leaving our community, our members are leaving our community,” Wong said.

And the destruction didn’t stop there.

“On 106th there was another two members, their windows were smashed,” Wong said.

Wong said those business are now out nearly $20,000 dollars to get those replaced.

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Hong Kong Bakery owner Chip Tang is all too familiar with the problem.

“It’s hard, it’s expensive, insurance rates have increased. I had that big window smashed a few years ago, that cost like $4,000 to replace,” Tang said.

He said after years of dealing with crime, social disorder and what he said is a lack of police support, there is no hope for Chinatown and that’s bad for business.

Read more: Edmonton’s Chinatown Business Association concerned over Boyle Street shelter building move

“Look around here, lots of businesses closed because I don’t think they can survive,” Tang said.

Edmonton police chief Dale McFee said Thursday at a police commission meeting that Chinatown needs solutions.

“There’s a significant drug problem. A lot of it is meth related and meth has got some unpredictable violence and we’re seeing that play out,” said McFee.

While no specifics were outlined, EPS is working to address neighbourhood crime.

On Jan. 13 police made several arrests at problem properties in the area.

Police seized thousands of dollars worth of fentanyl, prescription pills and a weapon.

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A win for the war on drugs, but businesses in Chinatown said a scene filled with police and yellow crime tape just adds to their loss.

“More than a dozen business members are leaving Chinatown in the next few months for sure,” Wong said.

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