Desperate Dubbo business owners say shoppers are too scared to get out of their cars and walk into the Myall Street Shopping Centre.
Attacks on shoppers, constant abuse and vandalism have prompted them to call for closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to be urgently installed, in a bid to catch culprits and deter potential offenders.
"We've never seen it this bad before in the four years we've been in business," White & Bright Laundrette owner Debbie Klaare told the Daily Liberal.
"A lady from Walgett came to drop doonas off and went to another shop because she was too scared to come in."
Ms Klaare said she sees young people and those she believes are affected by drugs regularly loitering outside the shopping centre, sometimes throwing rocks or drink bottles at people coming into the shops.
"The Telstra payphones have been smashed up three days in a row and we've had to clean up the glass," she said.
A lack of police support is not the problem, Ms Klaare said.
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"The police do a great job here and they go past all the time but they can't catch the people doing this," she said.
Buninyong Butchery owner Sam Kerin agrees with Ms Klaare and wants CCTV installed to see if it will reduce crime and bring back business.
"I know a lady drove past three days in a row and wouldn't come in; this is definitely affecting business," he said.
The Myall Street Shopping Centre was one of eight locations earmarked for CCTV installation, as part of a recent review of the city's safety camera systems undertaken by Dubbo Regional Council, NSW Police and security company Simtec.
Documents from the council's February meeting reveal it received $250,000 from the NSW Government's Safer Communities Fund, to install and expand CCTV infrastructure in Dubbo and Wellington.
The council will match this funding and spend an extra $250,000 to reach the estimated $500-$800,000 it could cost to implement the review's recommendations.
Mayor Ben Shields said the council acknowledges it's important to support hard-working local businesses and is working on a program to financially assist businesses to install CCTV cameras.
“I am aiming for a policy before council in the coming months," he said.
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