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Louisville police to step up foot patrols, traffic enforcement in bar districts

An urban street with stores, parked cars and overhead power lines on a sunny day with clouds.
Roberto Roldan
Frankfort Avenue is known for being a busy corridor with bars, restaurants and small businesses.

Louisville police will have an increased presence along Bardstown Road, Baxter Avenue, Frankfort Avenue and Brownsboro Road starting Monday.

The areas are known for having many bars, restaurants and small businesses. The Metro Council members who represent those districts — Democrats Ben Reno-Weber of District 8 and Andrew Owen of District 9 — requested the increased foot patrols and traffic enforcement following complaints from residents about noisy establishments and late-night violence. The move comes after a mass shooting outside of Southern Restaurant and Lounge downtown on Aug. 27 in which two people died and five more were injured.

Reno-Weber said the increased police presence is “one part, an important part, of a multi-pronged strategy” of addressing the crime concerns.

“We all know that community policing works,” he said. “Having a physical, on-the-ground presence deters bad actors and also encourages good actors to feel safe.”

Louisville Metro’s Alcohol Beverage Control agency recently announced a strict policy for enforcing the city’s noise ordinance. The ordinance was already on the books but, under the new “zero tolerance” policy, bars and restaurants playing music that can be heard more than 50 feet away will receive a $2,500 fine without a warning.

Democratic Mayor Craig Greenberg has also asked Metro Council to explore reigning in bar closing times from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m., a measure experts say isn’t likely to solve Louisville’s gun violence crisis.

The increased police presence around the four business corridors is expected to last until Sept. 16. Reno-Weber said the limited time frame is a matter of resources.

“Any time that you surge staffing, particularly in the middle of the night, you’re asking for people to disrupt their lives,” he said. “That’s something we can do for a little while. We need to think about, particularly if it works, investing in that over the longer haul.”

Reno-Weber said community violence and residents’ not being able to enjoy quiet in their homes are complex problems that probably need multiple approaches to solve. He said he’s planning to convene a working group with bar owners, city officials and residents that can figure out additional ways to address these issues.

Roberto Roldan is the City Politics and Government Reporter for WFPL. Email Roberto at rroldan@lpm.org.

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