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WPD Begins Work With Bar Owners To Make Old Town Safer

Wichita-Old-Town.jpg
Becky McCray, flickr Creative Commons
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The Wichita Police Department is working with bar owners in the city’s Old Town entertainment district to help prevent violent crime.

A report from the City of Wichita shows crime in Old Town hit its peak in 2012, with more than 550 incidents reported. Now, it’s nearly a third of that.

But Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay says a shooting earlier this month, which injured four people outside of the Pandora Night Club on Mead Street, shows that efforts to keep Old Town safe aren’t over.

Ramsay has met with bar owners in the area.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the bar owners are sincere and committed to ensuring that we maintain a safe environment there,” Ramsay says.

The Wichita Police Department has recommended that bar owners maintain at least a 30 to 1 ratio of patrons and security personnel, and ban people who they’ve had trouble with in the past.

Other recommendations include:

  • Give WPD 10-day notice of concerts (anything that has an expectation of a large crowd)
  • Consider purchasing and using portable video camera to be used by security when an issue occurs
  • Adhere strictly to occupancy limits
  • Security guards should be trained in techniques to de-escalate potential violent encounters and difficult situations

The police department is looking at adding more officers who will patrol Old Town late at night, and installing better lighting and more security cameras.
City officials say they’ll debut a detailed plan in the coming weeks.

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Follow Sean Sandefur on Twitter, @SeanSandefur

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