SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio police are hoping to crack down on neighborhood concerns by dedicating officers to patrol popular nightlife hot spots near downtown.
District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino said a proposal would add 10 police officers to the entertainment zones and nightlife corridors such as the St. Mary's strip, North Main, Pearl and Southtown areas.
"It is for our upcoming budget," Trevino said. "This is the proposal for this year's budget that we will adopt over the next few months."
Trevino said the goal is to create an additional force with Police Chief William McManus, which will help tackle issues they have seen in adjacent neighborhoods.
"First, it is the time of the night. You have food trucks out and many people lining up to eat after having a good time, so we have had concerns about the people during those late hours," Trevino said.
"We just want to provide safety and control for those areas," he said.
Other issues Trevino said have been brought to his attention are the number of cars that enter the affected neighborhoods, the amount of trash that is being left behind and people urinating near properties.
"I was sitting on the porch with the light out, just hanging out with my kids ... soon enough you had to move the kids inside because you realize, 'I don’t want my kids seeing this,'" said Jennifer Stall, who lives near St. Mary’s Street.
"This is not acceptable behavior. I see a lot of people very drunk walking to their cars. Speeding through the neighborhoods. Yes, I know it is close to the nightlife area. The neighborhood is close to here, but we are all adults here, and we need to respect each other’s neighborhoods," Stall said.
Much like the residents, business owners said they look forward to the possibility of more officers on the street.
"It is electric, and the later it gets, the little wilder it gets, but as business owners we try to keep it cool and chill,” said Rebel Mariposa, co-owner of La Botanica. "I think this is great because it does help deter people from being too rowdy. Sometimes it is just human nature. If you are not being watched, you are more inclined to be more naughty."
"I just want to make sure anyone who is patrolling has a lot of training and awareness about race and gender and sexuality and all of those things so people are not profiled," Mariposa said.
While crimes like bar thefts, car thefts and assaults have all been reported on St. Mary's Street alone, Trevino said he is hopeful that those incidents will be reduced once more enforcement is applied for the sake of safety.
"Whenever somebody does choose to go out and enjoy the nightlife in San Antonio, it will be safe and secure and fun," Trevino said.