Topeka resident creates petition to close 45th St. bar over safety concerns
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A petition to close a south Topeka bar, where several violent crimes have occurred since its opening 3 years ago, has over 530 signatures.
45th Street bar was the site of a fatal shooting Friday, November 4. While it was not the first crime reported at that location, Topeka resident Samantha Ware said it was the final straw.
“Like most of Topeka, I was pretty aware of the chronic crime issue at 45th Street bar, but with the most recent shooting where unfortunately someone did lose their life, that was really the last straw for me,” she said.
Ware decided to contact the Topeka Police Department.
“I requested records regarding every single time that the police had been dispatched to that location and why,” she continued saying, “When I received that data I was absolutely floored. I mean, the magnitude of the situation was just more than I had anticipated.”
Ware said since the bar’s opening in 2019, police have been called there 152 times, but the severity of calls increased more recently.
“There were, within the last two years, I believe 48 incidents that I found concerning that were either violent or disturbances,” she added. “Then within this past year, I believe 22 of those 48 had occurred.”
Ware created a petition on change.org to permanently close the bar and after 5 days, it has more than 535 signatures. However, not everyone supports the cause.
“The people who do oppose it mostly are saying it is the people, it is not the bar,” she continued saying, “To that I say you foster a certain environment and that is what you attract and I think that time and time again the owner and operator has shown us that this is not an issue she is willing to take seriously and address. I think this is just a behavior that has been fostered and now it is just festering in that establishment.”
Ware hopes the petition will get the attention of Topeka city leaders and they will take action.
“I really see this petition as a catalyst, a call to action to those in charge,” she added. It is time that our governing bodies, our regulatory bodies stop turning a blind eye to the situation. The petition shows that this is an issue that the community is passionate about, they have put their names on it, and I really just believe it is time that we stop normalizing this criminal behavior and we take some action on it.”
In an interview Wednesday, November 9 on Eye on Northeast Kansas Mayor Mike Padilla said he has met with city officials and law enforcement on this issue and are exploring different options. He also explained how the city has handled a situation like this in the past.
“We have had that in the past where we have had a business that over and over would be the site of shootings, stabbings, fights, and there was just nothing done by the property owners to curtail that kind of activity,” Padilla continued saying, “So, we put together a petition some years ago and were able to get a padlock order on that business and close it down.”
Ware said she has contacted the mayor about the petition, but has not yet heard back. You can sign her petition here.
13 NEWS tried calling 45th Street bar owner, Tanya Hines, to ask for comment on the petition and we have not yet heard back.
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