Police in St. Charles are cracking down on a long time problem on Main Street with the help of the bars.
Several people, some homeowners, some businesses reached to News 4 with concerns about increased crime and arrests on Historic Main Street. An analysis of crime data showed a spike in arrests and police reports to many of the bars on the street. But police say that’s part of the crackdown.
“The fact that we have more officers down there intervening in more incidents has resulted in more police reports and more enforcement activity,” explained Lt. Tom Wilkinson with St. Charles Police.
While most people, including police, believe that Main Street is a safe place, there is no doubt that there are issues surrounding some of the bars. Underage drinking, fights fueled by alcohol and destruction of property.
“Just like any district you’re going to run into a few issues, you might see fights or things like that and that's going to happen when people drink alcohol,” said Eric Sohn, the general manager at Quintessential, one of the popular bars on the street.
But that’s why Sohn says he and other bars are working with police to prevent some of the problems.
“There are times [police] will set up shop inside the restaurant and they’ll work with our security guard and catch people with fake IDs and there are nights they might get 10-12 people and take them away to jail and really help set a tone for the street,” he explained.
Neighboring shops like Little O’s Soda Shop said the shops and bars work like a family, watching out for each other.
Shelley Swenson says she’s noticed things getting a little rowdier but she’s never felt unsafe. That’s the sentiment from many people who spoke to News 4, but police say they are hearing concerns from those who live and work in the downtown district, and that’s what prompted the increase in patrols.
“We’re down there conducting foot patrols, we’re down there in uniforms and officers in plain clothes,” said Lt. Wilkinson.
And the city is also taking action. Last week they implemented changes to the liquor laws including requiring signs at businesses that read “It is unlawful to serve visibly intoxicated patron any alcohol.”
It also prohibits alcohol from being sold at discount or for free based on someone’s gender or status as a student and strengthens overcrowding laws.
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