South Bend officials concerned after two major fights last week - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend officials concerned after two major fights last week

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Police say two large fights broke out last week and now council members are calling on the community and bar owners to step up before more people get hurt.

Michael B. has lived in a South Bend neighborhood off of W. Western Ave. for 30 years now. He said he's never heard of problems near Johnny Mac's bar off near his home before. 

However, when he learned about Sunday's bar fight, where police say shots were fired and nearly 200 were around he was a bit concerned.

"If it happens again, if it happens more often, of course we're going to get worried," said Michael.

Police say the massive bar fight, that took place in a parking lot near Johnny Mac's, was the second one that week in South Bend. According to officers, a group of people hanging out in a parking lot near Olive St. also broke out into a brawl Thursday morning.

Officers can patrol those areas more now that there have been problems, but they say there's not much they can do to prevent another fight from breaking out.

"It's impossible to police every single bar with a law enforcement officer," said Capt. Phil Trent, South Bend Police Department.

Police say hanging around outside a bar, after it closes, is a pretty normal thing for people to during the summer. Officers rely on the bars to provide the proper security to keep things under control both during and after business hours. If there is a problem the bars are supposed to call police.

South Bend Common Councilman Henry Davis Jr. says he knows loitering will become an issue in the coming months, but he attributes the violence in South Bend to high unemployment rates.

"Unemployment, poverty, and crime run hand and hand," said Davis Jr..

Davis says if areas around Western Ave. and Lincolnway were more developed, fights like the two from last past week, would be less likely.

"Plan for economic development, economic opportunity," said Davis Jr.. "Once we have those economic plans and opportunities in play, we'll see a reduction in what we're facing right now."

Until that happens, officers say the best thing to do is to avoid getting yourself in this type of situation in the first place.

"Get whatever ride your getting, your designated driver, your cab, or otherwise and go home," said Capt. Trent. "Just don't hang around in the streets and wait for something bad to happen."

Police say if you live near a bar or any spot where people are loitering late at night. It's better to stay inside and call 911 if things get out of control. Officers warn people to not become a spectator.  

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