CCPD: Crime rises near Cape Coral bars

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CAPE CORAL, Fla. – Crime is on the rise in Southwest Florida’s largest city following experiments with extended bar hours, the Cape Coral Police Department said Thursday.

Since the bars in Cape Coral’s southern district began to stay open until 4 a.m., the number of calls made to police between midnight and 6 a.m. has increased by nearly 300 percent, according to a CCPD report. Notable increases in arrests for 2015 included:

  • 5 arrests for battery
  • 12 more disorderly conduct
  • 39 more DUIs

From April 2015 to January 2016, the police were called 217 times, according to CCPD reports. But for the same period of time in 2014 — before bar hours were extended by two hours — the number of calls made to police was only 76, according to CCPD.

The statistics from the report do not sit well with some Cape Coral residents.

“Some of these numbers are pretty damning. I mean you’ve got 5 batteries in 2015 and zero in 2014?” resident Bill Cronin said. “That’s not a good number at all for me.”

Others said the report is no reason for alarm and that increased crime should not be tied to the extended bar hours.

“They are up a little bit. I don’t think it’s significant,” resident Ragen St. Peter said. “With everything that’s happened with the police grants and the DUI stings that have ramped up as well, I don’t think the numbers are quite relative to the 4 a.m.”

One important factor that could be contributing to increased arrests is that more officers patrol the entertainment district on the weekends.

Next week, the department will give a presentation to the South Cape Redevelopment Agency about crime statistics.

The presentation was made available to the media Thursday.

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