SAULT STE. MARIE -- Sault Ste. Marie’s Downtown Association is hiring a private security firm to keep an eye on businesses following a spate of vandalism over the weekend.

Business owners are grateful for the added security to address what they say has been an ongoing problem.

Downtown Association CEO Salvatore Marchese said the security guards will patrol the downtown core at night after some property was damaged this past weekend.

“A few of their windows had been broken, an overhead sign had been smashed,” said Marchese. “So we were just trying to see how we can try and assist our membership.”

Marchese said the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service has indicated they will be stepping up their presence as well, with vehicle patrols and bicycle patrols during the day.

Julie Kerhanovich, owner of The Other Guys, said she’s out thousands of dollars after her windows were smashed. She’s considering installing a security cage on her storefront.

“It’s not the first time our window has been broken,” said Kerhanovich. “Our door was kicked in, as well. So maybe the presence of security might help.”

The owner of Homespun Treasures, another Queen Street business, agrees.

“I think that’s going to be money well spent,” said David Nicholson. “It’s not easy doing retail on Queen Street. It’s not easy doing retail at all right now.”

Nicholson said he’s had his share of issues in recent times, including graffiti and having his mailbox stolen.

Other Queen Street business owners said while the security presence will help, the underlying social issues that lead to these types of crimes need to be dealt with, as wel