Police presence on weekends remains consistent in Five Points, weeks after chaos erupted from Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Some businesses have mixed feelings about it because they say it’s impacting their bottom line.
Employees spoke both on and off camera with Action News Jax, saying it’s a double-edged sword.
Employees and business owners say on the one hand, it’s helped with safety, and says things have calmed down in recent weekends but on the other, business is much slower.
“After Cinco de Mayo, people got crazy they were out there on streets, loud music, barbecues,” Sylbester Bajaras said.
The police presence isn’t going away, according to JSO. Bajaras is the manager and part owner of 904 Tacos on Park Street and said there are pros and cons.
“I’m kind of on a 50/50 frame,” he said. “It has its perks and benefits, and some, not benefits.”
Bajaras says the pros are the safety of workers and customers, but the cons are impacting business.
“The numbers dropped down 35 percent since May,” he said. “It kind of slowed down the business a bit, we haven’t had as many people. I remember it was past 11, 11:30 p.m. and we were still packed doing to-go’s, drinks to-go’s but now it’s completely empty by 10 or 10:30 p.m.”
JSO told Action News Jax that officers will remain present for safety, which is of utmost importance. “Having visible and active police presence we aim to deter any potential issues that may arise, and address concerns promptly,” a spokesperson said.
JSO’s crime-mapping tool shows there have been 48 reported incidents since Cinco de Mayo and 11 incidents in the last month.
“It’s not as rowdy as it was,” Jacob Matuska said.
Most workers say the presence was needed at first but told us now, it’s a double-edged sword.
Jacob Matuska is the assistant general manager of Corner Taco just off Park Street, he emphasized that safety should be the priority.
“That safety, it gives me peace of mind,” he said. It’s a small price to pay for safety,”
Some say maybe dialing down the presence could be good but ultimately think it’s needed in some capacity. They also want people to know that Five Points is still a thriving area and a great spot to come out.
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