Bar owner taking downtown nightlife issues into his own hands
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Downtown Wilmington’s nightlife has been a big topic of debate the last few years. From bars trying to keep out members of the military to fights and even murders at and around clubs, the downtown scene has developed a reputation for violence after about 2 a.m. That’s caused one downtown business owner to take things into his own hands.
“In an ideal world we would have 20 officers down here every Friday and Saturday night late at night, but this is not an ideal world in terms of budgets, so they only have 10 officers,” Front Street Brewery owner Tom Harris said.
Back in May Harris hired the NOTTT Foundation to help with late night security downtown. With the city putting an end to the Nightlife Task Force a few years ago and continued violence, like a murder outside the Rhino Club in January, some members of the community are worried for their safety after the bars let out.
“(There’s) nowhere near enough police,” NOTTT Foundation Director Raymond Bates said. “I know we are short-handed a lot, and that’s the reason our company was hired to come out and assist them. Any given night we’re definitely out numbered out here.”
Despite the help of the NOTTT Foundation, which stands for Nothing Other Than The Truth, on this particular night there were a handful of fights and arrests. The continuing public safety issue has led Harris not only to hire the extra security, but to start airing a string of political ad about the problem.
“The city is not doing everything it can with regards to embracing free, no cost, common sense things to proactively try to help with the random sporadic late night violence that occurs downtown especially after 2 a.m.,” Harris said.
Harris hopes by forcing city leaders to face the issue something will finally change.
He says there were more police officers on the streets this weekend than usual. That’s because it was Riverfest weekend, which brings even more people to downtown.
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