On Thursday, the city announced new safety measures that include a voluntary curfew for Short North businesses.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther announced new security measures to fight crime in the Short North on Thursday.
The announcement followed a consecutive weekend of violence that began in the early hours of the morning.
This violence is hurting local businesses.
“We lost 173 reservations last weekend,” said Sean Shahnazi, owner of Chophouse 614 and 614 Hospitality Group. “We had our slowest week last week.”
Shahnazi invested heavily in the Short North. He has invested millions of dollars in operating several restaurants and pays hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in both rent and security.
According to him, crimes do not take place in restaurants and bars, but on city streets, sidewalks and parking lots.
City leaders have developed a new plan for the weekend: to beef up foot and bike officer safety, step up enforcement, ban street parking from 10pm along North High Street and ask bars and restaurants to close at midnight.
In response to the city’s plan, Shanazi said, “Let’s not punish neighborhoods.”
When we asked Guenther if the city would support those businesses that are recovering from the pandemic and now close earlier on weekends, he said the city would continue to work with small businesses and restaurants “as we have done for years.”
He went on to say, “…we believe that in light of this unprecedented set of actions, we have an obligation to embrace the moment. With 10 people shot that we know of and 11 weapons that we know of being recovered, it calls for unprecedented change that requires certain sacrifices.”
Those who attended a closed-door meeting with city officials earlier this week said they were glad to see the increased police presence. But they said they disagree with the parking ban or asking businesses to close at midnight.
“We’re asking the city to do its job,” said Ed Hastie, a lawyer representing bar and restaurant owners in the Short North. – I will take the mayor’s word for it. I’ll take the police chief at his word that they’re going to do these things.”