The Late-Night Business Safety Plan bill was introduced on Feb. 14 to the Council, which will now consider it. “Last year, we met with business leaders and community members in Silver Spring to discuss the situation and concerns with late night establishments over crime and safety,” said County Executive Elrich. “Since then, we have added safety cameras and new license plate reading technology in areas where they are needed. We have used crime date to reconfigure our patrol strategies. When passed, this bill will be another tool to help keep the community safe by relying on our businesses that cater to a late-night crowd to be part of the solution.”
Changes already in place to improve safety in Silver Spring include the addition of three high-visibility morning posts for officers in the Downtown Silver Spring area, more bicycle officers on patrol and more officers involved in community engagement and crime prevention areas. Adopt-A-Neighborhood programs and support from Maryland State Police have helped the area see fewer incidents of crime since last summer. Adding the Late-Night Business Safety Plan is the next step in addressing safety concerns.
“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 Stewart. “To do this, we need all of us working together.” Police credit early adopters of the Late-Night Business Safety Plan—business owners who voluntarily made suggested changes months ago (like adding handheld metal detector devices)—with showing them that adopting these changes can make a big impact.
“Several night clubs have agreed to hire additional parttime officers on the weekend doubling their security staff,” said Police Chief Jones. “We want to make sure that people understand that it is safe here.” Penalties for noncompliance would begin with fines. The legislation could allow the eventual shutdown of a business that is not seen as doing enough to keep its customers and employees safe.