Posted at: 08/08/2012 12:11 AM
By: Dan Bazile
ALBANY -- It's the 29th annual National Night out and there were events throughout the Capital Region. Residents from four Lark Street neighborhoods blocked off part of Lark Street near Dana Avenue in Albany as they celebrated their night out without fear.
"It's a strong showing that there is a collective intolerance for crime," said Albany County District Attorney David Soares.
The same thing is happening in cities and towns across the country. The annual effort allow law abiding citizens to take back the streets that are plagued with crime. For the four Albany neighborhoods, Hudson Park, Park South, Washington Park and Center Square, the biggest concern is quality of life.
"Our biggest type of crime are, I hate to say it, but are related to the late night drinking industry in this area," said Rich Berkley, president of the Hudson Park Neighborhood Association.
Berkley said there are often late night vandalism and drunken driving. That's partly why residents passed around a petition at the event to prevent two bars on Lark Street from staying open in the wee hours of the morning.
"Two bars on the street that are required legally closed at 2am are asking to say open in 4am," Berkley said.
Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings said the city has to be careful in allowing bars to stay open until 4am in some areas of the city.
"Nothing positive happens between 2 o'clock and 4 o'clock in the morning. A lot of our crime stuff occurs then. I don't see any reason for them to stay open at 4. It's a mixes residential as well as commercial," Jennings said.
The bars owner John DeJohn said he's not against his bars closing early. But he's a businessman and he's worried about the competition.
"The problem is the unfairness of me being able to close at 2 o'clock and other bars open until 4," DeJohn told Newschannel 13. "It's just going to hurt me personally. But I do support the 2 o'clock."