Intimidating panhandler

Abraham Hejazi, owner of Allure Boutique, agreed, saying the panhandlers on East Liberty Street are causing some people to avoid the area — which, in turn, leads to less foot traffic at his store. “With what’s happening in Ann Arbor with sexual assaults and then panhandlers shouting things and asking for money, people avoid coming to Liberty and go to another street.” He also said his employees don’t want to work later than 8 p.m. “We used to have one person panhandling outside,” he said.“Now, there are six or more right outside my store everyday.--An increase in the number of panhandlers frequenting Liberty Street’s celebrated graffiti alley.--Customers’ stated concerns about parking in public garages, including the Liberty Square garage where a sexual assault suspect attacked a woman in July.

“We were able to get a commitment that would happen,” she said.--A rise in panhandling and criminal activity at Liberty Plaza, a public square at the corner of Liberty and Division.Customers uncomfortable Wendy Batiste-Johnson, owner of the upscale women’s boutique Poshh, announced last week that she would close her store following a decade-long presence at 535 E. After 10 years downtown, Batiste-Johnson said the area has changed “drastically,” citing an increase in crime and aggressive panhandling on East Liberty Street.“When I came to Ann Arbor, it was listed as one of the safest cities in this country,” she said. Now, there’s a huge homeless problem on Liberty Street and let’s be honest, it’s driving customers away and affects my business.” She said she’s had several recent instances of panhandlers following her customers into the boutique, and some of her loyal customers are now choosing to avoid downtown Ann Arbor.“I have customers who have been customers for years, and now some of them are terrified of coming downtown because they’re scared of getting chased by panhandlers and scared to park in the parking garages,” she said.

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