French Quarter residents seek more police patrols

Image by flickr user turketwhImage by 20080707french.jpg The French Quarter is one of Charleston's most popular and beautiful neighborhoods, and the area's residents and business owners want to make sure it stays that way.

With bar patrons roaming downtown late at night, one of Charleston's most popular neighborhoods, the French Quarter, has become prime territory for fighting, vandalism, graffiti, and attempted break-ins. And residents want it to stop.

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Residents have sent a petition to the city, asking them to increase police patrols in the area late at night, hoping to stop drunken (one would guess ...) wanderers through the neighborhood causing trouble.

From The Post and Courier:

In the area bordered roughly by Market and Broad streets between East Bay and King streets, there have been broken windows, peeping toms, attempted break-ins, and one woman reported seeing an attempted rape. The neighborhood has become a parking lot for local bar patrons, many of whom walk the streets after 2 a.m., yelling, cursing, drinking and sometimes fighting.

"It's just gotten out of hand," resident Ellen Murray said. "Something has got to be done about it."

Ralph Ledford, a member of the homeowners association, said that just last month he had two people on the roof of his home at 27 State Street, trying to peer into his tenants' windows. The noise and trouble have gotten bad enough that it has begun to affect his business, a bed and breakfast.

"We get people coming out of the Broad Street bars singing and yelling nearly every night," Ledford said. "We just wanted to see if we could get the mayor and city council to do something."

The petition asks police to increase patrols from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. and keep an eye on bars for underage drinking. They also want more parking enforcement, saying that bar patrons often park in residential spots to avoid paying for parking.

The Charleston Police Department responded to the issue by saying it recognizes the problem and is working on it, as the PC reports:

City officials have forwarded these concerns to Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen, who has made the issue of public drinking a priority for the department. Mullen said he is working on the problem.

"We've been working with this community before the petition and we're continuing to do so now," Mullen said. "We're working with them to help solve these issues."

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