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Flint City Council discusses first draft of ordinance to fight crime by closing businesses early

A circulating conversation is one step closer to becoming a Flint city ordinance
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 1:01 AM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - A circulating conversation is one step closer to becoming a Flint city ordinance.

Two weeks ago, an 18-year-old girl was shot and killed at a BP gas station in Flint. Members on City Council say they’ve had enough. They want to see businesses in the city close by nine o’clock to fight crime. 

Some City Council members about why they’re hoping to see this become an official ordinance and pass sooner rather than later.

“The later it is, the more crime have opportunity to progress, and I’m tired of seeing it," Flint City Councilman Maurice Davis of the Second Ward said.

Davis says he is done with late-night crimes in Flint. 

According to CrimeMapping.com, there are 71 crimes listed in Flint in the last week. Of those 71 crimes, more than 30 took place between 9:00 at night and 7:00 in the morning.

“Balloons is just splattered all over the north end. It’s time out for that. People wearing t-shirts with family members on it. It’s time out for that,” Davis said. 

Davis is among other council members who want a solution now. They to see liquor stores, gas stations, and several corner stores close by 9 p.m.

“Once them stores shut down, it’s quiet over here. It’s safe over here. We got to quiet this thing down. This is just the first step. This is not the final. This is the beginning,” Davis said. 

City Council took that first step during Wednesday’s City Council meeting, introducing a draft of the ordinance and allowing the public to weigh in on it.

About ten people chimed in on the possibility, and all ten of them stood by it. 

Councilman Davis says he expects the same enthusiasm for this from his colleagues.

“Safety is priority one. To turn any city around, you got to have safety, so I can’t see none of my colleagues kicking against an ordinance that’s going to make this city a safer community," Davis said.

When City Council members discussed the first draft during the virtual meeting, members say they need more discussion before moving to the next step.

First Ward Councilman Eric Mays brought up the deeper issues involved with crime like funding for more police patrolling and blight.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Kate Fields says the ordinance needs to better clarify if the intent is to close the store early altogether or to limit their alcohol sales.

There was also discussion regarding the length of the ordinance with options including the duration of the coronavirus pandemic or post-pandemic.

Councilman Davis says he hopes this ordinance can be written officially and passed within a couple of months. 

ABC12 obtained a copy of the first draft from Eighth Ward Councilman Allan Griggs.

“The hours of operation and the sale of beer, wine, liquor or other alcoholic beverages at liquor stores, corner stores, convenience stores, and gas stations from 7AM to 9PM Monday through Saturday and 12PM to 9PM Sunday.”

The first draft says that a violation of this ordinance could be guilty of a misdemeanor and face a fine of $500 and/or imprisonment up to 90 days.

The first draft is not an ordinance that has been voted on or will be enforced at this time. Council members say they plan to discuss during their next meeting on Monday, October 26.

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