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Crime hurting businesses in Reading

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 10 2014 09:30:31 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 11 2014 05:33:40 AM CDT

Reading businesses say crime in the area is killing their bottom line.

READING, Pa. -

Businesses in one Reading neighborhood say crime is killing business.

All up and down Cotton Street, businesses tell 69 News that the shootings and stabbings are bad for business.

This year, 2014, has been a tough year for Cotton Street.

On New Year's Day, a stepfather was arrested and charged with stabbing his stepson.

A few weeks later, a stray bullet hit a woman inside her home.

"It is disturbing. It's not going unnoticed what we're seeing there. Some of it is just unacceptable behavior," said Mayor Vaughn Spencer, D-Reading.

Recently, on March 2, a birthday party ended with two men being shot, one in the chest, the other in the leg.

Owners at Tack's Sandwich Shop on 16th and Cotton say the crime is scaring away customers.

"It's not the residents that live here, it's the people who come through think they're somebody special and then they start stuff, and then they disappear after they do their crime," said Charles Kondroski, owner of Tack's Sandwich Shop.

There's a similar problem at Citi-Sub on 10th and Cotton.

It was shut down for six months after someone came inside and set an employee on fire.

The fire destroyed almost everything, and the owner says business has never been the same.

"Yeah, crime affects the business, too," said Bill Singh, owner. "Especially, all the shootings and everything."

69 News took these complaints to City Hall and now there's a push to curb the crime on Cotton Street.

"We don't want to drive away business. Cotton Street is a vital, thriving business district for the city. I've always said that. And we need to keep existing businesses going," said councilwoman Marcia Goodman Hinnershitz, who represents the district.

Goodman-Hinnershitz says she will be organizing a meeting with the mayor and the police chief.

She says she will also be reaching out to business owners and community leaders.