Maddox Meets with Businesses to Discuss Crime in Temerson Square
After a jarring shooting was followed by a grievous hit-and-run in downtown Tuscaloosa's Temerson Square district, Mayor Walt Maddox spoke privately with local business owners Friday to discuss how to prevent such tragedies in the future.
"I’m very interested to see what they’re experiencing on Temerson Square, and then develop a plan of action moving forward," Maddox said on the Steve Shanon Morning Show on 95.3 The Bear early Friday. "Frankly, we just can not have what happened last night and last Saturday morning."
Although Maddox's meeting was not open to the public or media, Maddox expressed his frustrations on The Bear very explicitly. For instance, he noted that both suspects in last weekend's shooting in the Square have already been released on a $360,000 bond, calling it a big oversight in the justice system.
"I can give you every excuse… The individuals involved in this should’ve been in jail to begin with. It’s a damn shame we have to arrest and re-arrest the same people over and over," Maddox said. "It’s not much of a punishment, especially if you have a bail bondsman. People that commit these crimes, they’re not in jail long."
Maddox said resolving issues in Temerson Square requires a multi-faceted approach that will involve more than simply increasing police presence there. He proposed a "myriad of different things" including improved lighting and spacing out bars, but said more officers on the grounds would quickly become unsustainable.
"What we spend per capita we spend a lot of resources around that area... I don't think we're gonna be able to police our way out of this," Maddox said. "We've got to find a constructive way... You certainly don't need it to be the poster story across the nation as you're trying to recruit and take your city to the next level."
Regardless, Maddox wants to work closely with the people in his hometown to move forward from this. One of business owner in Temerson Square, Sage Juice Bar & Speakeasy's Ken Cupp, said that he hopes that together the area can learn and grow from these incidents.
“Ultimately, there are so many businesses that are trending in the right direction, that are new business or existing businesses that have done the right thing and continue to do the right thing," Cupp said. " There’s a lot of room for us to grow the downtown entertainment district into what it can be. That’s what we can’t lose. It can’t be a negative stigma that Temerson is a bad place because of a few one-off incidents."
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