BUFFALO, N.Y. — People who live and work in Buffalo's Allentown neighborhood say they need help.
On Thursday they met to share concerns about changes they've noticed in the last year, which they say threaten their property and livelihoods.
On one hand, Allentown has a long earned reputation as being among Western New York's most historic, vibrant, and desirable urban neighborhoods.
But those who own homes and businesses there say it's also becoming a mess.
The worry and concern among those in attendance at the Thursday meeting was palpable in describing the slide they say this neighborhood has seen in the last year or so.
Chief among their concerns are open air-drug dealing, property crimes, violent crime, vagrancy, and aggressive panhandlers who, when unsuccessful in getting money from people on the street, will walk into stores and just take things.
By night they say it's even worse, with cars speeding up and down streets, wild behavior among bar patrons, and those who just drink in their cars.
Some told of rampant illegal parking with no enforcement which blocks streets and makes it impossible for emergency vehicles to get through.
Others told of having people just park in their driveways, or in some cases, finding strangers sitting on their porches drinking and smoking at all hours of the night.
Some say they've become terrified to leave their homes.
Also in attendance, a Buffalo District Police Chief, who dutifully listened and took pages of notes but left without speaking to the group.
Among the suggestions from those who attended the meeting, increased police presence with a no tolerance policy for misbehavior, aggressive towing of illegally parked cars, and a crackdown on underaged drinking, noise, and aggressive panhandling.