PHOENIX, AZ — In just one weekend, more than a dozen businesses along 7th Avenue in the Phoenix Melrose District were either robbed, broken into or vandalized.
"It's now become something that we kind of expect, unfortunately," said Vicki Davis. "Which makes it kind of an issue for businesses to have to anticipate that kind of a loss.”
Vicki and her husband Denver have owned Denver's Car Care for more than two years. The couple has had at least six incidents where people have damaged cars on their lot.
“We get as many [cars] in our building as we can, we put them up on lifts, we do everything we can to protect our customers' cars," she said. "We’ve added lighting, we’ve got security cameras, and we are doing everything, but the transients and the people on the street that are just running around doing these things, they don’t care.”
The auto shop suffered $1,000 in damage earlier this month. Surveillance video shows a man on a bike slicing through the soft-top of one car and throwing a rock through the window of another before running off empty-handed.
"It breaks my heart when I see this," says Vicki. "These people give me their cars to work on, then trust me with their cars, you know?”
The couple has paid for all damage caused by vandals out of pocket.
Several other businesses, including coffee shops and restaurants, have also reported damage and thefts in recent weeks.
"There were 12 to 14 incidents within a 48 hour period," said Vicki. She says police are called every time, but their average response time is about 45 minutes.
She and several business owners met with a handful of Phoenix city leaders, council members, and even officers to address their issues Tuesday, but were disappointed with the response.
“The bottom line is, we don’t have enough police in the area right here, unfortunately," said Vicki. She says they were told there isn't enough money or resources for active patrols in the area, or enough to begin a search for the person or people responsible.
Now, Melrose business owners feel the task is on them.
"We're talking about not just getting more security measures at our businesses that need them, but also talking about having crews that band together and go up and down the streets at night," she added.