Out of control crowds, Peoria bar owner frustrated with city and police

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PEORIA (WEEK) — Crowds of people have been showing up outside of bars downtown Peoria drinking and loitering. One bar owner does not know what to do after reaching out to the city and police department.

“He said, I could feel the tension on Friday night on the streets, Saturday night I didn’t even go walk around because he said I knew something bad was going to happen,” said Jon Hopkins, owner of The Neon Bison Bar.

That’s what customers have told Hopkins.

Surveillance videos and pictures show the reason. Crowds outside the bar on Main Street last weekend. One photo shows a man drinking out of his own red solo cup on the sidewalk.

“People are just partying on the street and as it comes to the weekend it becomes a big party. Hundreds of people just up and down the street, in front of the federal court house,” Hopkins.

Hopkins said this had been an issue for years and it continues to get worse.

Summer of 2019, a street fight broke out among hundreds on the same stretch of Main Street where Hopkins says the loitering occurs.

“We wanted to be the change down on this block, but it affects people that want to come and see what we’re doing down here,” said Hopkins.

Hopkins believed he was not the only one losing customers, he said it was the whole city.

“Above even us losing money, I think the city of Peoria is losing money,” said Hopkins.

Peoria Police said they had increased staffing to areas necessary.

The City’s loitering ordinance3 does include a $200 penalty for the violator. Although, city communication coordinator, Stacy Peterson said it was up to police to enforce it.

And if things don’t change, Hopkins said he might have to move locations.

For now, Hopkins will do what he can, picking up the mess the party left.

“What we want to see is a safe environment and a place anybody and everybody is welcome to, including any of those people who are hanging out on the street,” said Hopkins.

The post Out of control crowds, Peoria bar owner frustrated with city and police appeared first on WEEK.

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