ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - St. Augustine police are beefing up their downtown patrols on weekends to crack down on violent crime.
One City Commissioner says recent violence may be linked to their growing nightlife.
Those who live there call St. Augustine a jewel in the crown of Northeast Florida.
“It’s a friendly town, we’re welcoming,” said neighbor, Cindy Gibson.
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Gibson calls a number of violent incidents in the city concerning, and says it’s not in line with the city she’s come to know.
“Having fun, doing things we’re supposed to be doing, and not dodging gunfire,” she said.
About two weeks ago, Action News Jax reported a shooting at the No Name Bar leaving two people injured by shrapnel.
We told you in March when 27-year-old Elbert Ortiz-Maldonado was arrested, accused of firing a gun into the air over a Flagler College dorm room, and in late January when two people were stabbed in the historic district.
City Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline tells Action News Jax Ryan Nelson SAPD’s added more patrols downtown on weekends. She tells Nelson in a phone conversation the violence may be linked to nightlife.
“In a short period of time we’ve seen an escalation in late night alcohol related problems,” she said.
Sikes-Kline tells Nelson they’re working with local bars to find a solution, and have even begun training some businesses on how to avoid over serving patrons. She says the daytime, evening, and nighttime economies need to work hand in hand.
“We appreciate that,” said Gibson. “We hope that it keeps our citizens safe, and we hope people keep coming back.”
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