Akasha Market owner Rania Ahmed calls the Tigerland shop, open since 1993, an integral part of university life for LSU students who party at the bars and eat at Akasha on weekends, according to a report at The Daily Reveille's website, lsunow.com.
But after being terrorized at gunpoint and robbed of roughly $5,000 the morning of Jan. 4 -- and being robbed again on Jan. 20 -- Ahmed, who has run the store for more than 20 years, is leasing the business to take an indefinite leave.
“I want the people to know I left because I’m afraid,” said Ahmed, who was born and raised in the Gaza Strip. “I’m not a weak person, but I have kids to live for.”
Ahmed's concerns have been echoed by Baton Rouge law enforcement and other business and property owners in the area.
Crime jumped 25 percent from 2014 to 2015 in the Tigerland area, according to Baton Rouge police statistics provided by the Crime Strategies Unit, a data analysis effort spearheaded by East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar C. Moore III.
Recent incidents have included the stabbing of LSU tight end Dillon Gordon earlier this month at Reggie’s Bar — a cornerstone of the Tigerland strip — and a string of incidents last year, including a man allegedly pointing a loaded gun at customers outside a bar, an apparent parking lot rape and a report of shots fired in the air just outside one of the taverns.