CRESTVIEW— Many residents believe area crime, mainly downtown, affects the quality of life in Crestview and local businesses. 

John Cannon of Crestview wonders how safe downtown is for shoppers. 

On April 20, he said, his grandson, who lives near Crestview’s former YMCA, was assaulted; on another occasion, a gun was pulled on him and his wife while they were sitting outside of their home. 

Cannon asks what the criterion is for calling the downtown area “safe.” 

The criteria used to determine if an area is "safe" or not is the presence or absence of serious crime such as felonies, according to Brian Hughes, public information officer for the Crestview Police Department. 

“The Critical Systems Manager (Kathy Duke) and I spent about half an hour reviewing incident reports from March 1 to the present (June 1) and I'm pleased to report that downtown is safe,” Hughes said. “We examined data for the 11-block area considered Crestview's historic downtown, between Wilson Street and Ferdon Boulevard and between James Lee Boulevard and the railroad tracks.”

According to Hughes, since the beginning of March, the only incidents downtown were traffic violations, such as running stop signs, none of which were felonies. 

“We checked incident reports for the area of Oakdale Avenue West behind the former YMCA and only found three incidents: a traffic stop, a warrant service and an investigation follow-up,” Hughes said. “There was one incident on April 8 at the apartments behind the former YMCA at [the 200 block of] Oakdale that involved an argument with a neighbor over a loud telephone call, but it was not an assault. 

“It appears [he] did not report his alleged assault to police.” 

Does the supposed crime in the area affect local businesses? 

Amanda Solesbee, the owner of Vintage Attic on Main Street, said she wasn’t even aware that there were issues with crime, and that her business has not been affected. 

That is not the case for all Main Street businesses, however, especially those with entrances on both Main Street and Wilson Street. 

A Badcock Home Furniture employee, who asked to be nameless, said the store constantly has to deal with the effects of crime. 

When asked if the crime was worse on the Wilson Street side of the store, the employee said it is the same on both sides. 

“High and homeless people are always coming into the store,” the employee said. “An employee got their car broken into about four or five months ago.” 

The employee said that they regularly find drug paraphernalia behind their store and that every Saturday morning there is a drug drop at the water meter behind the business. They also recently had someone kick in their back window and vandalize their security cameras. 

Badcock is located on the end of Main Street, closest to Highway 90, which doesn’t receive as much traffic as the opposite side. Although the crime is worse on that end of the street, the crime in all of downtown Crestview isn’t as alarming. 

“We can safely say that downtown Crestview is a safe area, and welcome residents and visitors to come stroll its historic ambiance, shop in its eclectic stores and feast in its excellent restaurants that boast everything from down-home southern [cooking] to pizza and Japanese and Korean cuisine,” Hughes said.

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Editor’s Note: Badcock Home Furniture experienced a burglary about four years ago, not recently, as the initial story stated. A woman, who asked to remain nameless, did not state, “It’s like a live episode of 'COPS' out there every day.” Another store employee said this.