By Serena Solomon
DNAinfo Producer Reporter
GREENWICH VILLAGE — Business owners and residents are fighting back against a crime wave that's threatening to turn Christopher Street into a no-go area.
Following a riot inside the Dunkin' Donuts on Christopher Street and Seventh Avenue, captured on surveillance tape, locals are petitioning for action.
"This last six months has been the worst I've seen in the 11 years I have been here," said Robert Ziegler, as he sat outside his gay dive bar, Boots and Saddle, rallying support from locals and businesses.
So far more 400 people had signed his petition in the last week, Ziegler said.
By gathering signatures, Ziegler hopes to keep Christopher Street at the forefront of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's mind, as well as prompt action from local City Councilmember Speaker Christine Quinn.
"People are scared to come to the West Village," he said.
The NYPD's presence in the area has increased since Tuesday, Ziegler said.
Mounted police could be seen along Christopher Street Wednesday, along with a mobile communications center and extra street lighting in front of the Dunkin' Donuts and Ziegler’s bar.
"I just hope it's here for more than a week,"
For other businesses along Christopher Street, the spike in violence and vandalism has meant tailoring operations to keep themselves and their employees safe.
Stefan Ernberg, the owner of a Swedish candy store called Sockerbit, began shutting his doors an hour early at 8 p.m last month to avoid the "craziness."
"We are surprised by how this street changes after hours in the evening," said Ernberg. He complained about groups of rowdy young people coming into his store and scaring away customers.
"I have to be by the door choosing who comes in," he said, of the evening hours.
Other businesses have sent out warnings to employees telling them to keep money out of sight, lock doors when closing up shop or insisting on multiple staff members when the sun goes down.
For Michael Abrumou, a local barber on the street, keeping his doors open late is not an option.
"That's why we close at eight o'clock, before the crazy," he said. "For me it's less money, but more safe."
Allison Patel, a 29-year-old Christopher Street resident, signed the petition after Ziegler showed her footage of the riot inside Dunkin' Donuts. She said the tattoo parlor below her apartment constantly had broken windows caused by night time revelers.
"I have no problem with people coming here for a good time, but show some respect," she said.