City, Downtown Businesses Discuss What Should Be Done About Increased Crime
Downtown Tuscaloosa business owners and city leaders are coming together in the hopes of addressing a recent increase of crime in the area.
“There’s been a spate of problems over the last three or four weeks and they’re reaching a level that’s very concerning,” said District 4 Tuscaloosa City Council Member Lee Busby.
Five people were shot in Temerson Square earlier this month, along with several incidents in other downtown areas and the Strip just off the University of Alabama campus.
Busby said that shooting sparked a series of meeting between downtown businesses, property owners and city leaders.
On Wednesday, city leaders met with businesses operating on the Strip.
“I think the first thing we have to grasp is having a clear understanding of what the problem is because there are multiple problems and we tend to view them all as one,” said Busby.
Busby said there were a number of measures discussed at Wednesday’s meeting, including bar operating hours, the funding of an increased police presence, vehicle access on the Strip, parking and lighting.
If you look at the long-term patterns, Busby said he thinks something has to be done because residents in Tuscaloosa won’t visit places with higher crime.
Alabama Beverage Licensees Association Executive Director Brandon Owens said he’s glad there’s a first step.
“It’s great that the city brought us in and wanted to find out the facts,” Owens said. “That’s what we really appreciate, is that the city is working with us so we can all make sure that it’s a safe environment for everybody.”
The next meeting between city officials and downtown businesses is in two weeks during the city’s Public Safety Committee meeting.