Last week, a video showing two groups of men engaged in a fight on Sixth Street, near the police station, went viral.
On Friday, the Austin Police Department started enforcing their new initiative, Operation Safe Passage. The goal is to insure that people are able to get around safely after the bars close.
Extra officers are being placed in high visibility areas; primarily from Sixth Street to the parking area along IH-35 and streets east of IH-35.
Somanahally Ganesha is known to his customers as Mr.G, owner of East 6th Street’s World Liquor and Tobacco. He has been at the same location, just east of IH 35, for a decade. But he says over the years what once was a quiet corner has changed; his store be seen in the background of the viral video.
“I never seen anything like that before it was kind of scary to me to see my liquor store and that may effect my business,” said Ganesha.
During Operation Safe Passage, APD says their officers will make sure bar patrons make it to their vehicles safely while also quickly responding to anything situation that may pop up.
“They just kept kicking the guys and going after them, but I thought it was a slow police response time because the fight went on for a couple minutes and you’d think in this area police would respond a lot quicker,” said David Bartner, a 6th Street patron.
APD has not said just how long this initiative will last since this operation will be staffed using overtime hours for officers, so Mr. G is taking matters into his own hands to make sure his customers keep coming back.
“We are thinking of putting more street lights and cameras out,” said Ganesha. “We will also start leaving our lights on outside even when we are closed.”
Ganesha says he is glad to see APD taking action, and hopes it will make a difference.
“All over the world people can see that video it kind of looks bad for our city.”