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It has always been a pleasant experience spending an evening on Elmwood Avenue -- shopping at the unique galleries and stores, having dinner at the many great restaurants and ending the evening with a treat at the Sweet Tooth. Unfortunately, these pleasant experiences are a thing of the past.

Within the last few months, our visits have turned into experiences that we choose not to be a part of any longer. During the summer months, we have been approached by people who tell their fictitious sad stories of their "sick children" in Children's Hospital and their desperate need for cash. They proceed to get nasty and verbally abusive when we walk away.

Last weekend, a woman chased us for two blocks, swearing and verbally abusing us because we had recognized her and her scam. When she physically came at us, our first instinct was to look for a police officer.

The lack of police presence on Elmwood is quite evident. After several minutes passed, we stood in the street and flagged down a police car to report the incident. This made us feel a little calmer, but still a bit uneasy. As soon as we walked away from the police car, panhandlers approached us several times asking for spare change.

We have been supporters of the growth of the Chippewa area, the Theater District and the Elmwood Strip for years. Police presence is a major part of that growth.

The group "Forever Elmwood" is quite active in all aspects of the betterment of Elmwood. Unfortunately, after all these bad experiences, we are new members of our own group -- "Farewell Elmwood."



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