'A police car here, every day': Fatigue sets in as businesses in Saskatoon strip mall cope with crime
SASKATOON -- Petty crime and panhandling are plaguing two local businesses and shoppers at a strip mall in the 300 block of Confederation Drive.
“Every day I see a police car here, every day,” said Rose Abdullah, owner of Shahika Hair Style.
She has operated the salon for about six years and said she has noticed an uptick in foot traffic in the area since a new liquor store opened up nearby.
“They always ask for money,” she said. “Sometimes I feel bad to see lots of homeless and when they ask for money I ask them ‘do you want me to buy you food?’ they don’t take it. When you give them money they ask for more money to buy alcohol.”
Abdullah used to park out front of her salon, but after someone smashed into her parked vehicle, she decided to park in the back of the strip mall where her vehicle is guarded by security cameras.
Those cameras don’t catch everything that happens.
“One of my clients parked by the Dollar Tree, he had a 2019 BMW, and they broke into his car for four bucks change,” she said. “He told me, ‘I would give them $100 but don’t break into my car.’
“Or sometimes people are drinking in the night, they see a Superstore cart and they push it to a car just being rude.”
Just a few doors down at Q-Tech Electronics, Qasam Ali has had to take protective measures against criminals by installing metal bars inside his front door and windows.
Even then, Ali said people are brazen enough to come in, ask to buy a cellphone and attempt to steal it.
“One day we caught a person, he was on a bike and when we grabbed the back of the bike he had a big knife and we went back into the store,” Ali said. He also recalls a time last year around Christmas when thieves attempted to rip his business’ front door off with a chain on a truck, before succeeding at his Eighth Street location.
With two to three break-in attempts each year, Ali is worried he will soon lose insurance coverage for his business.
“We have to pay a deductible for insurance too and then our insurance goes up and most of the companies are denied insurance if they have two to three break-ins, they don’t want to give insurance to us here.”