Top Richmond officials meet with Shockoe business owners

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Unruly and sometimes violent crowds in both Shockoe Bottom and the Slip have prompted efforts to make the entertainment district a safer place.

Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and Police Chief Bryan Norwood met with business owners Thursday night.

Last September, a camera rolled on the aftermath following a night of entertainment outside a 17th street club.

One month earlier and one street over, three people were shot outside another hot spot.

Nearly two weeks ago, a fight at Toad's place prompted a city-wide police mayday to control a crowd of 12 hundred.

Local events promotor Thomas Harriston says there are some irresponsible club owners that ruin it for the rest.

Merchants asked the mayor and police chief about what's being done and offered suggestions.

Some think more surveillance cameras will help while others believe tighter enforcement by the Alcoholic Beverage Commission is needed.

"If tighter enforcement with ordinances on the books is needed or ABC having a greater presence, you tell us what you need to do we're interested in trying to get that done," said Mayor Jones.

Chief Norwood says behavior modification among the younger patrons is one strategy. His department will reach out to youth through cyberspace.

RPD is working on its Facebook profile where right now information about the curfew and drinking laws can be found.

"It's an avenue we're looking to reach the demographic that frequents the area in terms of messaging and education," said Norwood.

Mayor Jones says his administration will look at what other cities are doing to reel in irresponsible club and bar owners and see what nightlife ordinances Richmond has and what revisions it might need.

He hopes to revisit this topic again with the business owners in a couple of months.

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