Naperville begins tracking downtown drinking, crime stats

Naperville City Council members will be adding numbers to their efforts to curtail downtown rowdiness by beginning to track 10 types of statistics about downtown crime and night life activity.

The council received its first report on downtown drinking-related arrests Tuesday night as members voted to place two new restrictions on bars. The restrictions forbid bars throughout the city from offering specials that decrease the price of a drink to less than half its original cost and require liquor license holders to enroll security employees in a city-sponsored alcohol beverage server training.

The actions stem from the events of one rowdy weekend in July, in which a fatal crash occurred just outside downtown Naperville and a large fight broke out on Washington Street. Since that weekend, council members have been discussing ways to make the downtown safer and keep better tabs on drinking activity.

Beginning with the report given Tuesday night, the council will receive quarterly updates on the number of violations reported downtown in the following categories:

• Driving under the influence of alcohol;

• Public urination;

• Battery or fighting;

• Resisting arrest or interfering with police officers;

• Disorderly conduct;

• Criminal damage to property;

• Liquor code regulations.

The first round of statistics from June through August reported 78 total arrests in the downtown, down from 82 during the same three months last year. However, the numbers of arrests for resisting a police officer and for battery or assault to bar staff members increased this summer when compared to the same three months last year.

This summer, there were 13 people arrested downtown for resisting a police officer, up from eight during the same period last year. This summer also saw four people arrested downtown for battery or assault to bar staff members compared to two during the same time frame last year.

In future quarterly reports, the council also will receive statistics about the number of ambulance calls from downtown bars, the amount of workers' compensation claims by city employees related to liquor enforcement, and any liquor law violations in which city public safety employees or bar employees are victims.

"I'm interested in seeing how the metrics work out here over time," council member Robert Fieseler said.

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