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Sarasota Police Department Chief Bernadette DiPino speaks at a community meeting in Newtown.
Sarasota Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 3 years ago

Newtown businesses agree to close early

by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

Last month, Sarasota Police Department representatives appeared before the City Commission to speak about safety concerns along the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way corridor. After a July 31 meeting, the SPD has reached an agreement with nearby businesses as it attempts to cut down on those issues.

In an effort to reduce on chronic crime-related incidents in the area, Chief Bernadette DiPino recommended that the city prohibit Newtown businesses from operating between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. That proposal was met with pushback from attendees at the July 21 commission meeting, several of whom criticized the suggested policy for being overly broad and detrimental to law-abiding businesses.

On July 31, the police department held a community workshop with residents and business owners regarding the situation in the area. Following the two-hour meeting, retail businesses along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way agreed to close at 2:30 a.m. in an attempt to discourage mass gatherings in the area, which police officials believe is the source of many criminal incidents.

According to an SPD release, the department hopes to continue to engage with the Newtown community to focus on reducing crime and encouraging safety in the area.

“We hope to continue these meetings in the coming weeks,” Lt. Pat Ledwith said in a release. “This is a chance to continue a two-way dialogue with businesses and residents in our community to continue reducing actual crime and the fear of crime in our neighborhoods.”

Contact David Conway at [email protected].

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