Edinburgh city center shops ‘under siege by vandals’ in tourist hotspot
Edinburgh business owners say they are plagued by anti-social behavior and harassment at a downtown tourist hotspot.
A number of owners and workers around Hunter Square and the Royal Mile have filed complaints about incidents that affect their businesses on a daily basis.
The central plaza on North Bridge has been a hub for drug and alcohol abuse fueling antisocial behavior for years, with police often present at the scene.
Many companies have reported that their windows have been smashed, that customers have been yelled at and witnessed overdoses, drug trafficking and drug use in broad daylight, no matter who is nearby.
A source who works with a number of locals said Edinburgh live: “I work on the Royal Mile, I’ve been working here for about five years now on the retail side.
“Working in the Hunter Square area generally, I noticed a lot more anti-social behavior.
“Businesses are also struggling right now, struggling to recruit staff as is, struggling to attract tourists and obviously behavior in Hunter Square is everyday and it’s getting worse and worse.
“Businesses are in trouble, people don’t want to shop or hang out there. People eat and drink outside and they have to watch people fight, deal in drugs, use drugs, abuse alcohol, violence, etc.
“We are really struggling to get any help from the Scottish Council or the Scottish Police. When they arrive they are usually too late or when they leave the problem starts again.
“The problem is left out because no one is moved or arrested, the staff are attacked in different stores, the vandalism is really serious.
“If you walk down anywhere on South Bridge you’ll see all the broken storefronts. It’s on a weekly basis, with attempted break-ins and ambulances present, so the NHS has to deal with that as well.
“I have dealt with a number of fairly serious first aid cases, from overdoses to assaults. When the police help them, they go down and blitz it for a few weeks, then they disappear again.
“Obviously it’s different when the Fringe is on, there are a lot of police, but we also had problems and the police vans are sitting where the incidents are happening, but they are empty and the officers are gone. to take care of something else.
“There is not enough attention on the region and the companies are ready to close their doors, it is no longer worth the trouble. “
Conservative adviser Jo Mowat said: “It’s heartbreaking for companies after 18 really tough months to find themselves in this really tough situation that affects their people and the things they need to see.
“I am in regular contact with companies that are really concerned about the situation.
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“It is not appropriate in a public place and needs are addressed, regular overdoses and alcohol abuse should not occur.
“Police Inspector Mark Hamilton is trying to put together a plan and funds are in place to do the big job, but he’s not ready yet.
“Having to watch things like this is not acceptable, especially in a public place. The square shouldn’t be used as a social club, we clearly didn’t move fast enough to deal with this.
A Council spokesperson said: “We are working with Police Scotland and other partners to address issues of anti-social behavior in this area.
“Public toilets were closed in 2017 as part of the measures taken to combat anti-social behavior.
“We continue to take incidents that occur in the square very seriously, as the neighborhood is a prominent public space at the center of our beautiful city and we want to make sure it is accessible and welcoming to all. “
Scottish Police have been contacted for comment.