London

Broken glass on Dundas: What merchants are saying

Some downtown businesses owners were left to clean up broken glass after incidents of attempted theft and vandalism over the past 10 days.
Plywood on a Dundas Street storefront covers broken glass. Some merchants say the ongoing work on Dundas Place reduces foot traffic at night, making it easier for thieves and vandals to damage their storefronts. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

You may have noticed a prevalence of plywood on Dundas Street storefronts this week.

CBC News spoke to three businesses owners on the street of Dundas between Richmond and Clarence Streets who say they've suffered damage to their storefronts in the past 10 days. 

A few didn't want to speak on the record, but some said that construction work on the street and the steel safety fencing has made it easier for thieves and vandals to work undetected. 

On Friday night after the store closed, the front window of London Rock was smashed. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

Rock London

Owner Abdul Ergig has plywood up over a glass pane in his storefront. 

He was called by police on Friday night after closing. 

Ergig said no merchandise was lost but said the repairs will cost hundreds of dollars. 

Sandra DeSalvo is the executive director of the TAP Centre for Creativity where glass was smashed out of a back window last weekend and a lock was damaged over the Aug. 5 long weekend. (Andrew Lupton/CBC )

TAP Centre for Creativity

At about 5 a.m. on Sunday, the glass of a rear access door at the TAP Centre fore Creativity was broken. 

Executive director Sandra DeSalvo said the alarm was activated right away and the would-be thieves weren't able to get inside. The rock used to break the window was found just inside the door. 

Over the Aug. 5 long weekend, a failed attempt to pick the lock on the front door left it damaged. 

"There just seems to be a lot of incidents in the last 10 to 15 days," she said. "Lots of business on Dundas have broken glass."

DeSalvo says construction outside is cutting down on foot traffic. 

"When you have more people in the core and the street opens up, then there's less time for people to get into trouble."

The owner of the Cellular Centre didn't want to speak on the record, other than to say thieves smashed a section of his storefront glass and grabbed a small amount of merchandise. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

Cellular Centre

The owner here didn't want to speak to CBC News but said a section of his glass storefront was broken and a small amount of merchandise taken over the weekend. 

Jim Yanchula is the head of downtown projects with the city. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

Downtown Jim

Jim Yanchula is the city's head of downtown projects. 

He hasn't received an increase in reports about property damage from business owners. 

"No one from the affected businesses has contacted me about it," he said. 

He said the construction contractor has night security staff in place, but said their main job is to keep people out of the construction area, not to protect storefronts. He said police are on Dundas during the day. 

Yanchula said the city responded to complaints from business owners during last year's construction phase east of Richmond, and based on their input opted to keep screening off construction fences. The idea is that keeping the fences open improves site lines. 

Yanchula also said four extra security cameras were installed. They're monitored, along with other cameras, by corporate security services.