Sycamore Square in Antioch is a place known for drug dealing and violence but on Monday, the mayor and police chief unveiled a sweeping crime prevention package aimed at offering alternatives to troubled youth.
“Moms can’t come here to wash their clothes because drug dealers. I was standing out here and I witnessed two people arguing and one varnished their weapon. Are you kidding me? This is a place children come to,” said Mayor Lamar Thorpe.
He described what’s been happening at Antioch’s Sycamore Square for far too long. Now the city has a plan to clean things up. The mayor says the city is prepared to hire youth who’ve been causing some of the problems.
“If you can show up here at 8 a.m. to sell drugs, we’re more than happy to train you,” he said.
The city is also set to hold business owners accountable for securing their property.
“If you allow this environment to exist, we’re going to shut you down,” said Thorpe.
Many however, are skeptical.
“While you guys are talking about shutting down businesses just note this business is one who gave a person like me the opportunity to feed my kids and pay my bills,” said Smoke & More employee Armani.
Some say businesses can’t be expected to clean up the mess. Romi Liquor store is riddled with bullets and shattered windows after a shooting left three wounded over the weekend
The owners say police are slow to respond to calls for help when loitering gets out of hand.