RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — For the last few years, activity in and around Raleigh’s Glenwood South has generated complaints from people who live in the area. Those complaints include noise, crowding and aggressive patrons.
Raleigh city staff and police formed a ‘Hospitality Squad’ to work on strategies to manage these issues.
One of those strategies included increasing police presence to deter violent crime. Data presented to by Raleigh Police Department’s Lieutenant R. Bowen to city council showed an 18 percent decrease in calls for service from 2021 to 2022. However, it did show a 16 percent increase in reported incidents.
From 2021 to 2022, RPD tracked increased and decreases for the following crimes:
- Aggravated assaults: +45 percent
- Simple assaults: -8 percent
- Felony drug violations: +133 percent
- Misdemeanor drug felony: +44 percent
- Disorderly conduct: -34 percent
- Carry concealed weapon: +110 percent
- Illegal possession of weapon: +23 percent
While RPD reported 67 guns were seized in 2021, 139 were seized in 2022. Those increases in drug and gun violations don’t necessarily mean the area has become more dangerous. Bowen credited the department’s proactive approach.
“That’s directly from the officers, mostly in the perimeter, finding the drugs and guns before they get to Glenwood itself,” Bowen told councilmembers.
Bowen said part of their approach involves analyzing crime data to keep tabs on hotspots where people are gathering.
“Not just bars and night clubs but which sections are people hanging out in so we can get officers standing in those sections so we can prevent more crimes so they don’t occur,” said Bowen.
The Hospitality Squad has also been focused on pedestrian safety. City staff are looking at implementation curb bump outs. These bump outs won’t create more sidewalk space but they involve painting art on the pavement and protect pedestrians at street corners with vertical delineators- or flexible posts.
“That will create more space for people to gather while they wait to cross the intersection and it also increases pedestrian visibility,” said Whitney Schoenfeld, Emergency Management and Special Events Coordinator with the city.
Shortening the hours push cart vendors can operate to keep people from lingering after bar hours along with managing illegal parking is also on the list of strategies to better manage Glenwood South.
“It’s been a really intensive and comprehensive effort to try address all the facets of life on Glenwood South and try to do it in a way that doesn’t detract from the vibrancy that I think we all want — but making sure there’s safety and security for those visiting the district and peace and comfort and safety for those that live in and around the district,” said Evan Raleigh with the city manager’s office.