More Timmins business owners speak out about crime and drug problems in the city
TIMMINS -- Brianna Humphrey recently invested in some barbed wire at her restaurant. In the past five years, she's experienced 17 break-ins at her business, mostly from people looking for money for drugs.
Humphrey said it would "mind blow most of the people" how often she sees these types of problems.
"What I want to see is less people dropping dead on my property," she said. "Less ODs (overdoses); less constantly calling the police because I have someone passed out."
"It's not that we don't care, we really do. We run out of the restaurant, administer first aid, (and) make sure they're breathing," said Humphrey.
The owner of Lemongrass gift shop, Sonya Biemann, contacted CTV News last week to share a story of how she was randomly attacked and suffered a concussion. Last weekend, she said her attacker confronted her again, making threats on her life. Another person broke the glass in her front door.
And the owner of Smiles for Life Dental Hygiene Clinic said she's been feeling "depleted" after hearing what's happened to Biemann and other business owners.
Natalie Levasseur said she has also had to clean up after vandals breaking her front window and ripping out landscaping. She has witnessed people using substances in the back of her building and sometimes has to call police to walk her and her employees to their cars.
"We are all here to pay taxes and if we all leave, then what's going to happen to our business core?" Levasseur said. "We need to all work together as a team. We also need to be heard, and this is why we are all coming out and speaking, voicing what's happening because we all need to address this as soon as possible."
Timmins police said they've recently made a change to the scheduling of patrols.
"They're deploying themselves in different duties," said Marc Depatie, communications coordinator for the Timmins Police Service. "They're not being allowed to be in the police station at certain times of a dayshift or nightshift because those are deemed to be peak hours where they should be out on patrol rather than completing reports."
Depatie said this is one of the ways they're trying to curb vandalism and violence in the city. He said they also need people to call 911 right away when they see suspicious behaviour and not wait until situations escalate.
He also said there have been 56 break and enters in August -- half of those residential, the other half commercial.