Unhappy Hour: Increased assaults at bar time - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Unhappy Hour: Increased assaults at bar time

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by Bryan Goettel

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - In the past two and a half weeks, Iowa City police has investigated eight reported serious assaults in and around the downtown area. But it's more than a number that has a community growing increasingly concerned.

From police to bar owners to students, it's a trend that has Iowa City on notice.

"A big concern," said Abbey Arp, manager at Martini's, a bar in the ped mall. "It makes everyone a little more cautious."

It's something Iowa City police has grown accustomed to. As temperatures rise...so do tempers. But we're not just talking about a little pushing and shoving.

"I think in part we're seeing an increase in both the number of events and also the severity of the events," said Sgt. Troy Kelsay with Iowa City police.

Kelsay says the police department doesn't have the money to put more officers on the street, but they are paying overtime to increase their patrol. He says they're also beginning to toss the idea around of installing cameras around the ped mall.

"I don't think it would stop, but they may be able to identify people better that are fighting out here," said U of I junior Sam Patterson.

"I think that would be helpful especially when some of these larger fights and people are seriously hurt that it would be a good idea and kinda determining who was the cause of it or what kind of started the fight," said U of I senior Clint Kadolph.

Bars like Martini's, right in the hub of ped mall activity, are doing their part.

"We're also just making sure we have as many door guys on the clock as possible especially on the weekends when it is a lot busier," said Arp. 

"This should not be just put on the victims," said Kelsay. "This should not just be put on the bars. This should not just be put on the police department. This is truly a community problem and people need to step up."

One student I talked to said even his bartender friends are getting concerned. They don't know if it's safe to walk home with all the cash they've made from tips. This is clearly an issue that is grabbing everybody's attention.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel

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