LONDON, ONT. -- A number of businesses in London’s downtown core and Old East Village have boarded up their storefronts in light of an increase in vandalism and break-ins since the COVID-19 outbreak began.

On Richmond Street, Joes Kool’s along with Prince Albert’s Diner are among those that have taken safety precautions because of decreased traffic downtown.

“We have seen some businesses be vandalized, “ says Todd Aronson, a manager at Joe Kool’s.

In the Old East Village it’s the same scene, with establishments like The Root Cellar having plywood on its front windows.

London police have now stepped up both foot and vehicular patrols in the core and Old East Village and they are asking for the public’s assistance.

“We're asking members of the public to please report anything suspicious. If we don't know, we can't go,” says Const. Sandasha Bough of the London Police Service.

“Increased police presence down here is only a good thing you know to help keep everybody's businesses safe,” says Aronson.

“I never thought we would have to do this in a million years, but like everybody we're just trying to get through it and be safe.”