BOSTON — Some business owners near "Methadone Mile" in the South End say criminal and suspicious activity in the area has gotten so bad that they're locking their doors during business hours – and some are even considering moving.
"We've had to start locking our doors at night, the minute the sun goes down," said Kandace Cummings, the owner of Anita Kurl Hair Salon on Washington Avenue.
Cummings' deadbolts the front door to her salon at the first trace of nightfall.
Clients have had their wallets stolen, she said, "Because someone walks in, scouts, [and] acts like they know someone and [then] walk away."
She attributes a noticeable recent uptick in criminal and suspicious activity to people she believes are clearly on drugs. And she says the number of encounters is increasing to a level that, at times, feels unmanageable.
"It's absolutely insane. You can tell there's no reasoning with them or speaking to them," she said, adding that at times, she has to grab hold of the door to ensure that they don't enter her salon.
Cummings and more than a dozen other South End businesses owners Boston 25 News talked with believe it all stems from an influx of people drawn to the area that's been called "Methadone Mile."
From a daily sprinkling of discarded needles, to people regularly passing out in and around businesses and some even using dumpsters as toilets.
"We clean it every day and they keep going every day and night," said Efstathios Andreadis, who owns Pizza Stop on Harrison Avenue.
Andreadis says he and other business owners have been ticketed because of the litter and human waste.
"We can't be here all day, we have [to] keep the business around," Andreadis said.
He told Boston 25 News that monitoring and cleaning the alley next to his business has become a full-time job and the growing frustration has him thinking about closing up shop for good.
"It's not a solution of 'get them out of here,' " Cummings said. "Help them, and once you help them, you help us."
One South End Walgreens is one of at least two local businesses that have hired private security companies.
Several other businesses owners told Boston 25 News they too are considering hiring private security.
Boston police have recently stepped up patrols in the area and Mayor Marty Walsh is expected to unveil a plan in the next few weeks to decentralize services near "Methadone Mile" and move some of them to other areas of the city.
© 2020 Cox Media Group