Raleigh Police, business owners discuss safety in Glenwood South

Sean Coffey Image
Tuesday, January 30, 2024
Rise in gun seizures an alarming trend in Glenwood South, police say
The number of illegal guns being brought into Raleigh's nightlife district has nearly tripled, Raleigh Police said.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Safety in Raleigh's nightlife district is again in the spotlight.

On Monday, Raleigh Police heard questions and concerns from business owners and residents about new policies the department has implemented to fight crime along Glenwood Avenue.

The conversation varied from bar owners investing in metal detectors to best practices for private security to an uptick in illegal guns being brought to Glenwood South.

"All we need is one incident to happen before it becomes a catastrophe," said Police Chief Estella Patterson.

Patterson led the town hall-style meeting, sharing new crime data she first presented to Raleigh City Council last week. Headlining that presentation was data showing a near-tripling in the illegal guns seized by RPD in the last quarter of 2023 compared to the same time in 2022. In total, RPD said 290 firearms were seized in the area last calendar year.

"This is concerning, these numbers because this means people are bringing firearms down to this corridor. And rest assured, they're bringing them into your establishments," Patterson said.

RPD Lt. P.T. Morrison oversees the department's patrols along Glenwood Avenue and said they're finding guns across the area.

"We're getting these firearms in parking lots, people walking around, traffic stops and volunteer encounters," Morrison said.

RELATED: 'Few bad apples': Business owners speak out after Glenwood South shooting

Potential solutions -- from optimizing private security officers to bars investing in metal detectors and sharing security footage with RPD -- were met with some concerns. Raleigh Police said metal detectors would help in their fight against guns, but business owners such as Tony Basford of Plus Dueling Piano Bar said they turn customers off.

"If I had to go through that, this is me going 'I'm a 51-year-old grown man, and these aren't the people I need to be hanging out with'," Basford said.

Other measures, such as RPD's closure of Glenwood Avenue to vehicle traffic on Friday and Saturday nights, also sparked debate.

"If you want vibrancy, you're going to need to have traffic. And we're kind of counting on that traffic to have business and in the last quarter it's been horrible," said Adam Bennetts of Bigfoot Taphouse.

Larry Miller, who runs the Glenwood South Neighborhood Collaborative, which put on the debate, said they've been encouraged by RPD's larger presence and feel the strategies and conversations are working.

"If it takes some modifications or tweaks to make it work better, we do want it to work for everyone, we want all the businesses to see the benefit out of this," Miller said.

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