Downtown a safe place to shop and walk

   Downtown Elizabethton is one of those communities where you can still walk the streets and feel safe. According to a spokesman for the Elizabethton Police Department, "It is a safe place to walk without fear of being assaulted."
   Many people -- young, middle-aged, and old -- do choose the downtown streets to walk at night as they are well-lighted. Also, statistics show that in the downtown there are few crimes against people, such as assault, robbery, rape and homicide.
   In fact, many people who walk downtown in the evening window shop, and often come back the next day and inquire about merchandise in the window said the owner of Bowers Florists in an interview earlier this year. "I change my windows regularly, because it is good advertisement to those who walk downtown in the evening," she said.
   David Pinckard of David-Lynn Men's Shop said evening walkers are also window shoppers. "It's unbelievable how many people will call me and say 'I saw such and such in your window. Will you hold it for me?'"
   "It's amazing how many people walk in the downtown in the evening, and it's amazing how much traffic is in the downtown during the late afternoon hours," Pinckard said.
   "There are actually very few reports of burglaries and vandalism to property," according to the spokesperson at the police department.
   Lisa Bare, who owns Pickett Fences at the corner of Elk Avenue and Pine Street, noted that there are few problems with vandalism downtown. "You can see, many of us have items out front such as flower planters that are never bothered," she said.
   "We are fortunate in that we have little crime in the downtown business district," she said.
   Another shop owner said their business is routinely checked afterhours by the police department. "They leave a card in the door letting me know they have checked for unlocked doors and the such," she said.
   Bare said the biggest problem downtown is speeders. "We have a speed limit downtown, but many motorists exceed it. They use Elk Avenue as a shortcut to get from the west end of town to the Bypass," she said.
   Bare expressed concern about the speeding traffic. "I would like to see the speed limit enforced more," she said.
   An officer of the police department concurred that speeding is probably the biggest problem downtown. "But we try to remedy that with enforcement," he said.