BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — There are deep concerns in Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood about crime in that area. The latest incident that’s now under investigation by police — an attempted robbery at a local convenience store and deli.
The attempted robbery happened early Friday morning and was caught on surveillance video. Buffalo Police are now investigating and because of the recent crime in Allentown, some business owners are considering whether to relocate.
In the video, a man is wearing a dark hoodie over his eyes and threatens the clerk by appearing to hold something inside his sweatshirt while demanding money, then attempts to go around the counter, before the clerk hits the panic button.
That’s when the suspect runs out.
The attempted robbery happened at 1:15 a.m. Friday morning at Holley Farms Market on Allen Street. Yasin Abdulla, owns Allentown Eatz which is inside the store and was closed at the time.
“We both ran the video, we watched it several times, I don’t think I know who that is at all,” Abdulla said.
There have been other problems in the neighborhood — two Saturday’s ago there was a shooting right outside their store. Multiple shots were fired and two men were shot in the leg — Yasin says one bullet came close to shattering the glass to their storefront. The shooting happened while he was working.
“I was right over here, I heard about 6-7 shots go off and I heard the one that actually hit the wall, so I ran out the kitchen and I went behind this cooler right here,” Abdulla said. He adds that he closes earlier since the shooting.
Other businesses on Allen Street are also concerned about the crime, including drug use.
“And they’ll go into the bathroom, I found dirty needles in there, used needles, I kicked somebody out less than a week ago for going in there and smoking crack I had a guy sitting at the table last week doing lines of coke,” said Todd Burdick, general manager, Jim’s Steak Out on Allen Street.
In the past there’s been a shooting at Jim’s and both registers were stolen. Jim’s Steak Out says it’s considering to relocate.
Despite all this, Buffalo Police say robberies, larcenies, burglaries and shootings are down in Allentown and that there are dedicated patrols here on Friday and Saturday nights. Police say larcenies are down more than 56% from last year; burglaries are down more than 32% from last year; robberies are down more than 12% from last year; and that there’s been one shooting this year compared to four last year.
The Allen Street Road Construction project which continues is also a concern for many businesses.
“It’s maybe time to relocate because the business I have is good and they have a good business I don’t even want to say the whole neighborhood, but this strip right here this area is getting pretty bad,” Abdulla said. “So, there’s going to be more construction, more street block offs, harder for police to get here, less car traffic, less foot traffic, more dangerous, so you get to the point you have to just make the decision is this worth it?”
Some businesses on Allen Street want to see a greater police presence, but others question whether that will really make a difference. Yasin says his lease is up next month and will make a decision on whether to relocate then.
A spokesperson for the City of Buffalo says Allen Street from Delaware to Elmwood opened to traffic earlier this week. The intersection at Elmwood and Allen is expected to be done in the next 2-3 weeks and the final phase of Allen Street from Elmwood to Wadsworth is expected to be completed next summer.
Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.