Richmond police increasing street presence for New Year's Eve

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Celebrating the New Year in Richmond? Count on seeing police officers everywhere. The department is doubling up its patrol presence for one night only.

For some people, what's New Year's Eve without a little alcohol? Bob McNulty with Sine Restaurant and Pub is expecting to serve many a glass.

"In the last couple of years we've actually seen a very nice increase on New Year's Eve and we tend to get a lot of people in early," said McNulty.

He's got the heated tent and plenty of seats, no doubt ready to pack a crowd.

"You want to make sure people, one have a good time while they're here, and they're not affecting other people if they're over indulged, and just making sure people get home safe. That's the biggest thing," he said.

Richmond police are doubling their presence in Shockoe Bottom this year and will be watching as the countdown to 2010 begins. Officers and detectives normally assigned to specialized units will join forces with patrol officers.

"Just to have an added presence in neighborhoods where we know we historically either can have some issues and/or that we know there will be large amounts of people," said Richmond Police Department Major Peggy Horn.

The Bottom, Downtown and the Fan are all on police radar. It will be pretty busy between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. Between that time cops will be listening for celebratory gun blasts.

"We know that sometimes in the city on New Year's Eve we shoot guns off at the New Year's hour and that's very dangerous because obviously we don't want people to be reckless with firearms," Horn said.

In years past, residents in Church Hill have been known to pull the trigger.

"Some parts of the neighborhood are safe, some are not," said resident Preston Green.

Preston is counting on more police to keep the peace.

"I think it's good because you've got children out here," Preston said.

Couple of quick tips: Park and walk in well-lit areas. Make sure you have a designated driver. And stay in groups. Remember, it is illegal to fire a gun in city limits.

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