New Haven Spot Checks Designed to Curb Violence

By Amanda Raus
|  Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013  |  Updated 9:21 PM EDT
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Some business owners in downtown New Haven say the extra police presence is good for violence, but bad for business.

Amanda Raus, Chris Podosek

Some business owners in downtown New Haven say the extra police presence is good for violence, but bad for business.

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New Haven police have ramped up security after a spike in downtown violence, and this Friday, officers took it a step further by doing spot checks in bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

They checked permits and made sure everything was up to code and that everyone inside was legally allowed to be there.

Establishments like Kelly's Restaurant and Bar said the officers provide an extra set of eyes and helped enforce the regulations that are already in place.

“We make sure that everybody that enters our place is over the age of 21," said Kelly's Restaurant owner Patrick Hogan, "and we do check all IDs and if we're in any way unsure, we ask them for a second form of identification."

The increased security comes a week after two shootings and a number of fights in the nightclub area and aims to curb the violence.

Business owners said they have mixed feelings about the extra patrols.

“It's good that it's hopefully going to prevent something from escalating into something bigger, but unfortunately, it's hurting our business here because it's preventing a lot of the everyday people from coming downtown because they're afraid," said Hogan. "They're afraid to go out and have a drink or two and then be caught for drinking and driving.”

The owners of nearby Temple Grill wonder how extra security makes their establishment look.

“When you go a bar or restaurant and you see a lot of police or a big doorman presence, it sort of alerts a person, like, 'Oh, why do we need this for safety?'” said Chris Candido, a partner at Temple Grill.

Overall, however, they said they're happy something proactive is being done.

“I think the synergy between the police force, the EMT services and the liquor commission staying down here and showing they have stamina is good for the moment," said Candido. "It's eliminating the problems, which is causing the mature crowd to want to come into the city.”

New Haven police said they will maintain increased patrols on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in the downtown area until they believe things are under control.

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