After a recent break-in, a London, Ont., business owner is speaking out about the rising incidents of vandalism and encouraging other businesses to do so as well.
Rebecca Hamilton, the owner of Chick Boss Cake on Wellington Street just south of Horton, says that the Friday night break-in was just the latest of at least five, along with multiple incidents of vandalism towards their branded vehicles.
The incident was captured on a surveillance camera, newly installed after the previous break-in.
London police have confirmed to 980 CFPL that an investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Chick Boss Cakes has three other locations, one in St. Thomas, one in Kitchener and one in Woodstock.
Chick Boss’s London location has been open for five years, and Hamilton says the area has been on a significant decline since.
“When we first moved in, we knew it was a little bit of a rougher area. But we had no issues with vandalism, there was an oddly harmless homeless person,” said Hamilton. “But nothing like it is now.”
“The last two years have gotten significantly worse with a lot of drugs and vandalism.”
With the recent increase of vandalism in the downtown area, Hamilton plans to move the bakery to somewhere else in the south of London.
“We’ve already started looking for other locations because our lease is up here in about five or six months now. And I know it’s not going to prevent this entirely but even if it reduces it to about 50 per cent, I would be happy with that.”
Hamilton added that while the cost of the damage is unclear at the moment, every time a break-in occurs, the business has to pay a $ 1,000 deductible.
“Based on the frequency at which this happens, it adds up significantly. We almost have to pay our deductible on a monthly basis. So it’s one of our monthly expenses at this point. It’s getting crazy.”
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She adds that while her business may be able to recover from the added expenses, smaller businesses may not be able to take the additional financial strain that comes with a break-in.
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Other London businesses have also experienced an increase in crime in recent years, most notably the Black Walnut Bakery Cafe in Wortley Village, which was burnt down in a suspected arson.
Hamilton is urging other business owners to come forward and talk about their experiences with vandalism to hopefully find a solution.
“It’s easier for us to just patch it up, put the new glass in, move on and not talk about it. But at this rate that’s right now, I knew that we needed to talk about this and bring it up.”
“We need to come together as a community and as business owners to find a solution because right now we have no solution and no help.”
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