UNIVERSITY CITY (KMOX) – Business owners in University City told members of the City Council last night that things are getting dangerously out of control on Friday and Saturday nights.
Crowds of teenagers, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, are blocking sidewalks and threatening Loop patrons, both verbally and with weapons.
One business owner after another told council members that their stores and restaurants are losing customers left-and-right, and warned that the celebrated Delmar Loop is on a road to ruin.
Sean Jacobs of Cicero’s stated, “In three weeks we’ve had a shooting in a parking lot, and then this past weekend a police officer was assaulted.” Fitz’s owner Michael Alter said he “wasn’t quite sure 13-year-olds could make you feel unsafe in your own business, but I’ve become reluctant to even ask people to move along.”
Alter is warning his staff of potential plans to shut-down early on Friday and Saturday nights. Both Jacobs and Alter say, for now, they’re telling their wives to stay at home.
Matthew Dawson runs a cafe up the street and said, ” this is the only city I have ever worked in where I’ve had a door guy ask me to carry a weapon because he is terrified he is going to get stabbed or shot.” Dawson said he’s telling female customers to walk with their purses in front, and for customers to not leave keys or cell phones sitting on their tables.
“It’s pretty damn serious,” Jacobs said of the situation. “I have never in my life seen that Loop the way it is today.”
“We know for sure, there will be a policeman killed again this year again in U. City. I hate to say it, but these kids have no respect for our police officers. They challenge every one of ’em.”
City Manager Lehman Walker told the crowd he is currently reviewing curfew hours, re-evaluating the number of police officers patrolling the Loop, working with adjacent municipalities for additional help, increasing security at parking lots and possibly installing surveillance cameras.
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