RALEIGH N.C. (WNCN) — Thursday night, Raleigh police, local business owners, and community members came together to talk about major transportation changes and safety efforts along the New Bern Avenue Corridor.

The meeting is a part of a series by the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Business Resource Collaborative that’s focused on the planned Bus Rapid Transit project along the road.

“Safety and security is an important element of the entire ecosystem in a community,” Raleigh Chamber President Adrienne Cole said. “And nothing functions well unless the community is safe and secure and the people working and living and going to businesses feel safe and secure in those areas.”

Businesses react to bus rapid transit system

Transportation leaders gave an update on the Bus Rapid Transit project which will bring 10 stations across more than five miles along New Bern Avenue and downtown.

Business owners shared their excitement for the transportation upgrades.

Carl Vick, owner of Little Blue Bakehouse, said he’s looking forward to more foot traffic.

“I am hopeful and excited that this will lead to greater things down New Bern here in the area, just better access to downtown in general,” Vick said.

A future bus stop will be right next to Tonbo Ramen downtown. The restaurant’s owner, Tom Mukoyama, hopes the new system will bring business.

“We hope something like the bus rapid transit system will help people access our restaurant much easier, employees much easier,” Mukoyama said.

Police discuss New Bern crime concerns, solutions

Still, the New Bern Avenue corridor has its fair share of crime. Police spoke Thursday to businesses about the current state of crime along New Bern, and safety solutions.

Capt. Robert LaTour with Raleigh Police Department’s Southeast District said there has been an increase in drug and gang activity along the major road.

In the past year, the department created a specialized task force to target high-crime areas.

“We call them hotspots. So there are areas where we have patterns of crime that are happening and then [the team] goes in and targets locations to see how they can bring improvement to that area,” LaTour said.

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Police said businesses can connect with crime prevention officers and other resources to share information and surveillance quickly with police when things happen.

“We need all the eyes that we can get watching out for each other and get this sense of neighborhood right where different businesses are looking out for each other,” LaTour said.

Recent police department data along the New Bern corridor shows increases in drug and some weapons violations. The data shows decreases in homicides, assaults, and robberies.