On July 10, a large caliber weapon was used to fire multiple shots on Craftsman Court at a local club in downtown Scottsdale.
There has been an uptick in the amount of crime taking place in our downtown lately, part of a larger national trend of increased civil unrest and crime, due to a variety of reasons.
In response, the Scottsdale Police Department has enacted a gun and criminal suppression detail, involving significant resources from SPD, along with a squad of GIITEM officers, (Department of Public Safety Gang Enforcement Unit). This suppression continued over the next two weekends, as part of the PD’s efforts to quash this type of violence.
Police Chief Walther feels this is the “most important safety issue facing our downtown right now.”
Immediately after the shooting, SPD set up a meeting with local business owners and residents, which I attended with both grave concern and an open mind. Chief Walther and his team did a great job answering questions and explaining what can and can’t be done legally to help remedy these issues; what can be stopped, what can be engaged, what is free activity in our democracy.
Our PD is well aware of the situation and is going above and beyond to keep our residents and visitors safe, and to share their plans with the public through outreach and feet on the street.
That same weekend, I went on a “ride along” with Police Commander Chris Coffee, to observe firsthand the bars downtown.
Both SPD and GIITEM officers carried out their duties with the utmost professionalism.
Commander Coffee and his team know all the business owners, and the things to watch. Walking the street with our officers was an eye-opening experience for me. Our entertainment district “U” can be a boisterous scene on a weekend night.
It’s an exciting, international attraction that brings revenue to our city, but it can easily get out of hand with young people and alcohol in abundance.
There are dark alleys and corners where I saw our officers assist people in need, deter bad decisions, and engage in arrests.
The nightclubs are one piece of our thriving downtown mix. They are not the only thing bringing in people and business, but there are too many run down, unlit areas that contribute to the dangerous activity.
As one resident pointed out: “This isn’t happening at Scottsdale Quarter or Kierland Commons.”
I am still thinking over my experiences seeing first-hand our entertainment district and police department at work. SPD is doing an amazing job in the face of a diversity of challenges and dynamics.
How do we make our downtown re-invigorated, sustainable and safe going forward? How do we balance youth with sophistication, bachelorette parties with upscale dining and family activities, and all while maintaining public safety?
How much of what’s happening at the national level is impacting us here at home, and how do we address it? I look forward to continuing this conversation with our residents, business owners, and public safety officers to explore solutions that work for all of us in Scottsdale.
Editor’s Note: Tammy Caputi is a member of Scottsdale City Council.