Roanoke business owners frustrated with drug use, vandalism

Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 6:58 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Business owners along Franklin Road in Roanoke are frustrated with an increase in needles, vandalism and trespassing near their stores.

Employees at George’s Flowers went to work Wednesday morning to find graffiti and trash in the area.

“This morning I would find a Narcan nasal spray box, two needle packets and most likely a hotel card from that hotel,” owner George Clements said.

These problems are not new; just last year someone damaged the florist’s delivery van, Clements said.

“This is something that has been going on for multiple years now. The frequency has definitely increased,” Clements said.

Nearby the owner of Gloss Salon has decided to cut out of her lease early and move to a new space after working out of her current location for eight years.

“I’m tired of my customers, my coworkers, not feeling safe even walking to their car,” Jeanie Graybill said.

Both Clements and Graybill blame the folks staying next door at the Ramada for the disturbances and the debris like these syringes.

“It’s like run over, taken over,” Graybill said.

WDBJ7 spoke with the owner of the hotel. He said he is also frustrated, saying they are constantly dealing with people breaking into rooms and loitering on his property.

Roanoke Police are investigating what happened at George’s Flowers Wednesday morning.

Officers said they are going to reach out and work with other existing agencies like the city’s code enforcement to hopefully improve conditions in this area of the city.

The Virginia Harm Reduction Coalition is also in the area of Franklin Road and helps people who use drugs by distributing items like Narcan.

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