Dimi’s Greek House vandalized | CTV News

The latest incident of vandalism has a business owner calling out for help from the city.

Surveillance footage from Dimi’s Greek House shows a person ripping plants from planter boxes, setting fire to one of the boxes, flipping tables, and tearing down decorative lights.

As if that wasn’t enough, a pile of human excrement was also deposited near the door.

“Apparently the firetrucks came throughout the night and had to put out the fire,” said Dimitris Korakianitis, co-owner of Dimi’s. “It could have burned down the business. It’s a complete mess. It’s a re-occurring thing that’s happening on our downtown patio.”

As owners and staff were assessing the damage, police arrived, taking a statement and inquiring about the surveillance footage.

Korakianitis said it’s not about locating one person and making them accountable, it’s about broader change, “Six years ago, seven years ago, when we opened Dimi’s, being across from [Victoria Park] was a luxury; you’re beside a beautiful park. Now you can’t even walk through it without feeling unsafe.”

Dimi’s Greek House on Richmond Street, seen on July 25, 2023, was recently vandalized. (Gerry Dewan/CTV News London)

Korakianitis is aware of the strategies regarding homeless hubs and supportive housing initiatives, but he said the need for businesses and downtown residents is immediate.

He isn’t alone in raising alarms regarding unstable, even dangerous, behaviours that are being demonstrated by some in the area.

“At one point, they’ve even chased our security down with knives,” said Lori Boudreau.

Boudreau is the property manager for 222 Central Ave., a commercial/residential tower at the corner of Central Avenue and Richmond Street. She said the same woman has broken into the building’s secured underground parking twice in the last month.

She said the woman smashed out car windows and took a number of items on both occasions.

Boudreau said they’ve tightened security and added surveillance, but people keep finding their way in, “When they get down there, they’re going through all the vehicles to see what’s inside of them. Anything they feel is of value; they break in. We’ve even had them stop some of our residents walking through the parking garage.”

Dimi’s Greek House on Richmond Street, seen on July 25, 2023, was recently vandalized. (Gerry Dewan/CTV News London)

Korakianitis said he’s seeing concerning signs in the windows of vacated Richmond Row storefronts that used to be home to retailers and restaurants. He said the signs don’t say that they’ve gone out of business; they just say the business owners have decided to move to a different location.

“Something needs to change,” insisted Korakianitis, “Because we obviously care about downtown London very much and there needs to be some solutions, some help from the city.”

There were some encouraging moments for Dimi’s owners. A team of workers with the City of London’s Parks and Recreation department noticed the mess in front of Dimi’s and jumped out to lend a hand with the clean-up, even replanting flowers.

They also had delivery truck drivers who were willing to make their way through the mess at the front door so that business could continue later in the day.