FERGUSON, Mo. — Boarded up shops, empty lots of burnt ashes and dilapidated condemned buildings from once standing businesses are surrounded by the gang-ridden crime strip known as Ferguson’s West Florissant Avenue.
The area, which stretches between Ferguson Avenue and Chambers Road looks more depressed than one-year prior the major riot in November. The first round of lootings and damage were set off by the death of Mike Brown, a local 18-year-old who was shot and killed by then-Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson during a confrontation off West Florissant Avenue.
Property values in Ferguson since Brown’s death nose-dived. The owner of Zisser’s Tire, a store that has been in the town since 1987, told Fusion in March that his store’s insurance was in the process of being cancelled after it was vandalized twice.
“If I sold this place today, I could probably get $300,000 for it, if anyone is crazy enough to buy. Last year, the county said this lot was worth almost a million,” he says. “The value here is all going down. There’s about nine burnt-out buildings this way,” he says, pointing. “And about four more behind me.”
Fusion points out, that for the first three and a half months of the year, the average home sold in Ferguson for $36,168, a 46 percent decrease.
Some store owners stayed while many others picked up and left. However, months after the arson and looting, the area has yet to recover. Violent crime happens in the area regularly. Back in April, The St Louis Dispatch reported three people were shot after a gas station was looted on West Florissant. According to the Dispatch, 100 rounds were fired that night, trashcans were set on fire and police vehicles were vandalized.
In March, a bank robbery of the St. Louis Community Credit Union on West Florissant occurred and a six-year-old boy was killed at the intersection of West Florrissant Ave and Vera during a drive by shooting the same month. More recently, St. Louis County Police on Sunday shot a protester, Tyrone Harris, seen later on video footage with a handgun. Harris remains in critical condition.
Protesters, whom rioters often blend in with, often chant the phrase, “Shut them down” and many businesses in Ferguson did. The giant Auto Zone store is an empty lot along with its neighbor — Title Max Loans. On On Chop Suey, a Chinese restaurant that was part of a small plaza strip mall closed down too along with Jade Nails. The son of the former owners of On On even created a GoFundMe page.
According to their son, his parents ran the business in Ferguson for five years.
“I am not against protesting, but when it involves destroying people’s business, properties, and lives, it turns a protest for acknowledgement to an act of revenge. I don’t think it really helps their cause, but that’s just my opinion,” he wrote on the GoFundMe page.
He later adds, “When we started the business, we didn’t have a lot of customers and made very little money. My parents started to open on Sundays, and even most holidays like Thanksgiving and July 4th, after years of hard work, the business has started to go well. My father has been so happy to tell me about it every time I call him.”
The Daily Caller visited the site of the restaurant and saw that the entire building is condemned and can no longer be occupied.
Protests continue in Ferguson on West Florissant and disrupt businesses. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar believes the protests, which have already waned a bit since Sunday night’s gunfight, will further calm down.
“I think we are going to be ready and agile enough to respond to whatever we need to over the next few nights, but I think at this point, human nature being what it is, it’ll probably wane, but we’re going to be ready to protect the businesses of this community and the fine people who live here,” Belmar told reporters Tuesday night. “And we will move forward from there. And some day, we won’t have to be here anymore. I hope that day is sooner rather than later.”