Goldsboro demands crime-plagued business make changes — or close

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) - After years of crimes at one Goldsboro business, city and police officials are taking official action to either stop the crime or shut down the business.

Goldsboro Police say since 2013, they've responded to 790 incidents at Bees Town, a convenience store on South Slocumb Street.

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The crimes including shootings, stabbings, fights, prostitution, drug deals, and even gang activity.

It's become such an issue, longtime neighbors say they fear for their safety.

"They raise so much hell they get out there and get mad and get to shooting that's the problem," said one neighbor who did not want their name used.

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Official documents obtained by CBS North Carolina say, "Citizens regularly hear gunshots. For their safety, citizens both take immediate cover and sleep in areas of their homes furthest from the premises."

Earlier this month, the North Carolina ABC Commission suspended Bees Town's alcohol permit.

The convenience store still remains open.

"It's a rough area, and an area we're working hard to clean up," said Goldsboro Mayor Chuck Allen.

Allen grew up in Goldsboro and has served on the city council for nearly two decades.

He says millions of dollars have been invested into Goldsboro development, but some problems don't go away.

"Drugs, crimes, gangs, all that I mean we're all under-resourced, right? And it is an uphill battle, but one we got to fight," said Allen.

The city just filed a nuisance abatement against Bees Town, demanding the businesses change its practices, or close.

Goldsboro Police Chief Mike West said his department has responded to more than 790 incidents at Bees Town Inc. since 2013.

However, after hundreds of incidents over the last four years CBS North Carolina asked why the city waited this long to take action.

"Should we have done that one faster, maybe. But probably when the gunfire started, is when we started noticing it a little more," said Allen.

West says police and the mayor are making changes. They now working directly with the community and moving forward with action that should have been taken against Bees Town years ago.

"I think in the past, maybe the agency wasn't as proactive -- we just reacted, but I think we're doing a better job listening to the community," said West.

West says Bees Town received the most attention recently, but there are several businesses in the area they are working to get a handle on.

There are also several businesses in the past, which have been forced to close -- something West says they never want to have to do.

Bees Town will have the chance to make changes. West says those changes would be stricter rules for the convenience store such as, posting no trespassing signs (and allowing officers to go on site after hours if there were violations), changing store hours, adding more lighting to the parking lot, and doing a better job at dispersing a crowd when they gather.

If the business refuses to change, the abatement process could shut down Bees Town, however, it's a long process involving the courts.

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