City beefs up Short North security after shootings
The Short North avoided a third straight weekend of violence amid heavy police surveillance over the last few days.
Why it matters: The Short North is Columbus' busiest nightlife district, and Mayor Andrew Ginther called the recent criminal behavior there an "alarming wake up call" while announcing stricter safety measures last week.
State of play: Ginther is asking the district's hundreds of businesses to voluntarily close at midnight on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to prevent further late-night bloodshed for "as long as it takes."
- Meanwhile, he's ordered mobile food vendors to close at that time, to prevent after-hours loitering.
- City Council had already rolled back closing time for mobile vendors to 2:30am earlier this month, in response to a deadly fight near one last fall.
The latest: The city installed more lights in the area, closed some High Street parking, and beefed up enforcement of an existing midnight curfew for minors.
- The major police presence this past weekend included surveillance cameras, helicopters and drones, but very few Short North businesses closed early, the Dispatch reported.
The big picture: After focusing last summer on gun violence in parks, the city's attention has shifted to a district known by day for its artistry and constant development, but by night for its sometimes volatile party scene.
- At a news conference Thursday, local leaders condemned the mixture of guns and alcohol that can turn fights into deadly tragedies.
- They blame the rise in violence on state GOP officials for allowing Ohioans to carry concealed guns without a permit and combating the city's attempts to enact local gun safety laws.
What they're saying: The mayor defends early closures as a necessary sacrifice to protect safety and pledges to keep up the other security measures as long as necessary.
- Businesses that don't shut down early, Ginther said, "will have the full and undivided attention of city, county and state law enforcement to make sure that everyone is doing their part to keep safe."
- "This is a complex crisis that requires an urgent and immediate response," Short North Alliance executive director Betsy Pandora tells Axios. "We support the city’s recent efforts to curb violence ... and are actively working with our business owners, residents and visitors to ensure the long-term safety and well-being of the Short North."
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