County Officials Announce Late Night Business Safety Plan

Montgomery County officials and community leaders presented proposed legislation Monday afternoon aimed at improving business and resident safety.

Councilmember Kate Stewart, County Executive Marc Elrich, and Police Chief Marcus Jones were joined at the press conference Monday by Jane Redicker, President and CEO of the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, as well as Jason Miskiri, owner of Society Restaurant & Lounge, The Angry Jerk, and The Breakfast Club.

As part of the Late Night Business Safety Plan, businesses that are open between midnight and 6 a.m. and receive a high number of service calls during certain late-night hours would be required to develop safety plans with Montgomery County Police. According to Elrich, requirements could include businesses providing 24-hour video monitoring with high-definition digital cameras at entrances, exits, and near cash registers.

In addition, there could be requirements for adequate outdoor lighting and regulations governing the tint of window glass to ensure that the interior is visible from the outside.

Elrich also stated that businesses that fail to comply with the proposed plan will be subject to fines and possibly closure. “Affected businesses that refuse to comply will receive a daily fine … if you do not follow the rules, we will shut them down,” Elrich said.

The proposed legislation comes after a recent uptick in crime in downtown Silver Spring, including carjackings and the fatal shooting of a man in the Wayne Ave. Garage last December.

There has been a significant increase in police patrols in downtown Silver Spring, according to Police Chief Jones. The coverage of surveillance cameras has been expanded, as well as automated license plate readers have been installed. A number of late-night businesses are obtaining hand-held metal detectors to prevent firearms from entering their premises.

“Several nightclubs have agreed to hire additional part-time officers on the weekend, doubling their security staff,” Jones said. “We want to make sure that people understand that it is safe here.”

“I’m here today because, like many of you, I want to make sure that our community continues to be a place where young people, children, families, young adults, and older folks feel safe and can enjoy all we have here,” said Councilmember Kate Stewart. “To do this we need all of us working together.”

The Late Night Business Safety Plan is set to be introduced at today’s County Council meeting.

Montgomery County Photo

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