Gunshots were fired near the Cincinnati Entertainment District as local residents pressed for action
EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso police responded to a gun fire call near the Cincinnati entertainment district in West El Paso early Tuesday morning.
Police say no one was injured, but a 46-year-old man was taken into custody. According to the EPPD, the suspect shot in the air and was arrested for grievous bodily harm with a lethal weapon and the surrender of a gun in a certain community.
As crimes continue in the popular nightlife district, people who live near the bar district continue to echo concerns.
“This is a crime district, there is little entertainment here,” said Keith Pannell, a resident of Kern Place.
Kern Place residents have raised concerns after several violent crimes were reported in the area. In February, KTSM reported that police were investigating a murder outside a Chino Chido bar. At the time of the story, residents told KTSM they wanted to see action from city officials.
Almost two months later, more people in the KTSM region announced that nothing had changed.
“There shouldn’t be a region near houses, 100 feet, close to families, families with children living there,” Pannell said.
Crime concerns near the Cincinnati area were a main topic in a police virtual town hall last week, where public comments were dominated by concern.
KTSM interviewed Peter Svarzbien, District 1 representative of El Paso City Council, on Tuesday as the bar area is in his district. His office said he had to cancel at the last minute but issued a statement instead:
My office was made aware of the problems in the Cincinnati district, many of which existed prior to my election to the office. The safety of our community members is my top priority. I would also like to continue working with stakeholders, including the Kern Place Neighborhood Association, to find short-, medium-, and long-term solutions that will keep community members safe while allowing businesses to thrive.
Peter Svarzbien, City Councilor District 1
“To say there’s something in front of him that’s a soft story. So there were ten bars before he came in, now it’s 14, and the bottom line is that things have gotten worse,” said Pannell.
However, Pannell mentioned that he had contacted Svarzbien because of his concerns, although other residents had not heard about it.
“We’re trying as a group in the area to see if there are any regulations in place to close some of the bars,” Pannell said.
EPPD said the city has issued licenses to any business to operate as a business in a commercial zone across from a residential area. The officers are also not empowered to revoke or suspend a license or permit, but may issue quotes for violations.
“Despite arrests and multiple quotations, these facilities can continue to operate, as the operation of bars in this area is a lucrative affair, so that the cost of a quotation is offset many times over in income,” an EPPD spokesman told KTSM in one Explanation.
Pannell said he would like to see more restaurants and fewer bars if that would reduce crime. He said while visiting some of the facilities he wanted to see action from officials.
“They sell a lot of alcohol, people get drunk and people do stupid things, and I don’t mind unless the facilities are full of the same people,” Pannell said.