BALTIMORE, Md. - For the last two years, Halloween in Fells Point has ended in violence. The community and police are hoping to break the trend this year.
Twenty-plus businesses will be closing early, and police are beefing up patrols in the area.
Police also set-up two skywatch towers to better monitor crowds from a higher vantage point.
The new security measures were implemented after a 22-year-old woman was shot in the foot in 2016. There was also a stabbing, a street fight and the year prior, there was reported gunfire in Fells Point.
“The crowd control, it's just mayhem. Alcohol, drinking in the streets, it's not enforced, and there needs to be more control,” said Bill Packo, owner of The Greene Turtle Fells Point.
Captain Jarron Jackson said the previous incidents did not influence this year’s policing strategy.
“So, the focus of Fells Point comes more from the tradition of large crowds down at Fells Point, not particularly because of the incidents in the last few years. Just historically, it's been a place where people celebrate Halloween so we have an obligation as a police department to ensure the safety of those patrons,” said Jackson.
He added that there will be an increased number of uniformed officers patrolling the area, and a command center to monitor CCTV cameras.
“We looked at what we did last and we're trying to do some things differently and some things better this year. And one of them will be citing people for open container and alcohol violations down in the Fells Point area, Jackson said.
Businesses are also not taking a chance when it comes to safety. Twenty bars and stores will be closing early, including The Greene Turtle in Fells Point.
“That's a day on the books that's being taken off that will affect my bottom line,” said Packo.
However, Packo’s okay with taking a loss if it means keeping his staff and the public safe.
“There was a ‘purge’ scheduled for midnight last year and it got around, the staff was worried. What was gonna happen?,” Packo said.
Fells Point is known to bring the fun, but on this holiday, the community wants to see it reigned in.
“I don't envy the Major tonight. He has his hands full with what goes on down here,” said Nicholas Johnson, owner of Su Casa and president of Fells Point Main Street.
Business owners are now proposing an organized event next year that's more in the spirit of Halloween and less about partying in the streets.
“Really, we want people here. This is a neighborhood full of businesses and we want people in the neighborhood, we just want it to be something that's good for everybody,” Johnson said.
Also new this year, there will be no parking or driving in the Fells Point square. Roads close at 8 p.m. through 3 a.m., and the parking restrictions start at 5 p.m. and go through 5 a.m.
Below are the list of businesses that are planning to close early, according to Johnson:
Bond Street Social
Thames Street Oyster House
8 ball Meatball