Business and restaurant owners along Calgary’s 17th Avenue SW have been battling a pandemic and now they face a crime problem.
Riaz Khan owns Philosophical cafe and for the first time since opening six years ago they have had to deal with a series of burglaries in the past few weeks alone.
“The first time we lost our safe, cash register floats, iPads, computers. And the second time another random person took the crate, and then a week after that – for the third time – they smashed the front door with a crowbar,” Khan said.
“We’re worried every other night thinking we’re going to wake up and see another burglary.”
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According to the president of the Alberta Hospitality Association, this is a recurring scene in several other stores along the avenue.
“Burglaries happen several times a week,” Ernie Tsu said.
“Restaurants are trying to get out of the last two years of foreclosure and debt. It’s the last thing they need.
It’s happening with such unusual frequency that even commercial glass replacement companies are facing material shortages and strangled supply chains. Adam Burtch with Alpine glass says they’ve never seen anything like it.
“There are a growing number of desperate individuals and they are breaking by tons and tons. We also service LRTs and they are getting torn up,” Burtch said.
Costs are also increasing.
“Since May last year, we have seen a 35-40% increase in glass costs and lead times of two to six weeks, sometimes eight weeks. It’s been a dramatic increase,” Burtch said.
Calgary police are following this troubling trend. Compared to March of last year, there was an 80% increase in break and enters.
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