GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The owner of a gas station in Grand Rapids is calling upon other business owners to help keep the streets safe.
Vik Singh, owner of the BP Gas station at Hall Street and Division Avenue said he shuts down for one hour every night during the weekend following years of violence in the area.
“People are getting stabbed out here…they’re getting shot out here,” Singh said.
On Labor Day weekend a woman was shot in the arm. She’s recovering but police have yet to find a suspect.
While Singh is fed up with the crowds that takeover the area every weekend he’s not alone. A mother, who’s too afraid to go on camera, provided FOX 17 with video she took with her cellphone. It shows countless people pulling into the gas station once it lights go off. She said many of them are there to go to the Chicken Coop, which is located across the street. It’s open on Saturdays until 3 a.m.
The mother we spoke to said she’s witnessed fights, people dancing on cars and dealing drugs.
Capt. Eric Payne, with the Grand Rapids Police Department admits it’s a problem that’s been happening in the area for years. He said when businesses like the Chicken Coop are open there’s little the department can do about people being on the property. However, he said Singh has given police permission to go on site and remove trespassers during that hour that he closes the gas station.
“2 o’clock in the morning’s generally a busy time for calls for service,” Capt. Payne said. “So, when we can get down there we do. We do recognize there’s a problem.”
Singh said other businesses need to follow his lead and shut down for that busy hour after bars close to help keep people off the streets.
“This needs to be a group effort, ya know, if we shut down that should show people around, the businesses around us, that there’s a reason for us shutting down and it’s because of the bar rush, the bar crowd, we don’t want people getting hurt out here,” Singh said. “If we just took away the reason for them coming, which ya know, could be anything…but, if we took away that reason, ya know, it would prevent all of this.”