“Last call” at Brookhaven entertainment venues will soon happen an hour earlier. Effective Tuesday, April 10, Brookhaven rolls back the hours for alcohol service from 3 a.m. to 2 a.m., like most nearby jurisdictions, according to a press release.
The Brookhaven City Council overhauled its alcohol ordinance last fall, after receiving an analysis of crime statistics from the Brookhaven Police Department. From Jan. 1, 2017 through July 23, 2017, Brookhaven Police ascertained that 10 late night establishments with alcohol licenses were associated with a disproportionately high number of police calls. During this time, Brookhaven Police answered 884 calls for 337 incidents at these locations. Of those, 68 percent occurred between midnight and 6 a.m.
“The reality is that Brookhaven Police are spending more time policing the areas around these bars in the wee morning hours than any other location at any other time,” said Brookhaven Police Chief Gary Yandura.
An aggravated assault case that occurred May 13 at Medusa Lounge, 3375 Buford Highway was an example. During the altercation 30 shots were fired, three people were injured and several vehicles were struck by gunfire. On Wednesday, March 28, the U.S. Attorney’s Office indicted six members of the 135 Pirus gang on racketeering and other charges related to this event, Brookhaven Police said.
On Sept. 26, the Brookhaven City Council responded by refining its alcohol ordinance and updating its license fee structure. Under the new law, establishments with disc jockeys, dance floors or stages are classified as entertainment venues and can pay up to $100,000 for alcohol licenses. On Oct. 10, the Brookhaven City Council followed that action by rolling back bar hours to 2 a.m.
“We want to achieve some sort of equity between these late-night entertainment venues that were draining police services and all of the other residents of Brookhaven that need police services,” said Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst. “Recalibrating our license fees brings us closer to that equity. Rolling back the bar hours so we match our neighboring cities should reduce the crime element as well, so we can spread out our officers more evenly and spend more time on crime prevention.”
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