Would keeping Lodo bars open later reduce violent crime?

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DENVER -- In light of the shooting death of a Buckley airman near 15th and Market streets in Lower Downtown Denver, members of Lodo District Inc. are revisiting the topic of allowing local bars to stay open later as a way to reducing violent crime.

The airman, Shaquille Hargrove, 19, was a satellite systems operator stationed at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora. He was killed after a large fight at 15th and Market streets in which multiple shots were fired, the Denver Police Department reported.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fight, though police said they did not believe it was gang-related.

Kelsy Luhan frequents Lodo and says she sees a change in how people behave after a night at the bars.

"After a long night, people have been drinking and it does change how people act and react," Luhan said.

Paula Grey, Neighborhood Safety Initiative Chair with the organization, said the problem of violent crime in Lodo is a result of multiple bars in the area all closing at the same time.

Grey said the 2 a.m. closure forces intoxicated patrons outdoors where skirmishes can happen.

She has begun the research allowing bars to stay open later.  Grey said allowing bars to stay open later will allow patrons to leave at a smaller pace and ease the congestion and crowded streets.

Big cities like Chicago and New York allow bars to be open anywhere from 3 to 5 a.m.

Grey said her research could lead to a draft proposal and then the search for a state legislative bill sponsor.

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