Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Sucking sound from downtown

Saturday morning's downtown shooting as the bars closed has caused a few people to sit up and take notice of a problem the police have dealt with constantly for the past decade, as all of the bars appealing to young and high-risk drinkers have collapsed into the downtown area, particularly around 14th and O Streets.

The fights, beatings, and occasional gun-play or stabbing are not new, but this particular incident seems to have caught people's eye in a new way. Good. More people need to know what we're dealing with, and how the sucking sound of downtown pulls far too many of our limited resources away from the rest of the city. For years I've been encouraging citizens at every speaking engagement I've been at to see for themselves. Most people 40 and over don't make it through the weather forecast, and have a hard time believing that we have traffic jams at 2:00 AM. Babysitting binge-drinkers at bar break comes at the expense of police coverage in the rest of Lincoln.

Last year, I posted an animated map that demonstrates this phenomenon on our public website. Take the link to Downtown Assaults--third up from the bottom. It might be getting a lot of hits today, so be patient while it loads. Those readers from outside of Nebraska can figure out what time the bars close in our city!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I think you are right Chief. Your cops do have to babysit the downtown crowds. So why are they no longer doing this from the middle of the street? It seamed much safer for everyone when all you had to do to get a cop during bar close was way them down. Know you have to go hunting for them as they blend in with the crowd.