Shockoe Bottom merchants preparing for another busy weekend

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – After two murders in two weeks, Shockoe Bottom is expecting another busy weekend.  Merchants are gearing up to protect their customers, as hundreds will gather for after-parties, following Saturday's Chris Brown concert.

The party is called the "Shockoe Bottom Shutdown."  The three nightclubs hosting the event include, Have a Nice Day Café, Vision and Posh.  Businesses are hoping violence doesn't once again ruin what's supposed to be a good time.

"I think everybody is ramping up their security for this weekend," said Nicholas Bates of the Shockoe Bottom Neighborhood Association.  "Everybody is really going to be staying on alert and I know the police are going to be working very hard to keep everyone safe this weekend."

The association would be doing this already, considering in the last three weeks, there have been two murders and one shooting in an area that had not seen a homicide since 2004.  But, "Shockoe Bottom Shutdown" will bring more than a thousand people to just three nightclubs, complicating matters even more.

"The younger crowd seems to be the group of people that create problems," said Bates.  "They seem to think that they're bullet proof."

So the clubs have put in place age restrictions, the youngest being 21 and up.  Club owners said they also think enforcing a strict dress code will help maintain order.  Partiers will also go through thorough checks before entering any club.

Chris Brown will make appearances at the venues.  His business manager told NBC12 police are going to rope off the area between the three clubs and no one under the age of 21 will be allowed.  She said Brown and other artists wouldn't be coming to The Bottom if they didn't feel safe.

They want fans to have fun this weekend, but also obey the law.

"More than likely if you try to cause trouble, you're going to get arrested," said Bates.

Richmond Police would not get into specifics about their operational plan for the weekend.  They would only tell us there is a plan in place, which includes extra patrols during peak times.  The three clubs have also started a staggered exit time policy, so fewer people will be on the street at one time.

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