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DENVER — After three people were sent to the hospital from a shooting on Market Street early Sunday morning, business owners are voicing their concerns about what they say are growing safety problems in the Lower Downtown Denver area.
“I have noticed in the last three or four years that this block has changed a lot,” said John Nallen, owner of Nallen’s Irish Pub on Market St.
Nallen has operated the pub in LoDo for 26 years. He said closing time at the bars is where his concerns are growing.
“Sometimes you worry about your safety leaving here at 3 o’clock in the morning,” said Nallen. “It’s getting scary to the point of people are worried about going in the parking lot going to the alleyways or just out in the front here.”
The shooting on Sunday morning is not the first that has happened in this area.
“I was sitting out there in the back a few weeks ago, and all of a sudden three shots rang out, and there were casings right around the corner,” said Nallen.
The City of Denver has considered changing the times bars close in the past to see if that could help alleviate large crowds from loitering in the streets or fights from breaking out.
Students at Metropolitan State University (MSU) in Denver did a study on this very topic looking at other cities in the nation who implemented this law. They found that bars staying open later saw an increase in crime rather than the opposite, with more people drinking later into the night. Part of their conclusion towards a solution lies inside the bars themselves.
“Qualified security personnel that follow procedures, that know some conflict resolution and that know issues of intoxication,” said Denise Mowder, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and the Criminology Department at MSU.
Denver Police have increased patrols on the weekend nights in LoDo to try to curb crime and violence.
“I think we need to have more meetings and just figure out the bad apples that are coming on the street and where they are hanging out, and we see can we do something about it,” said Nallen. “We can all work together because right now it is becoming a safety problem.”