BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In Fells Point, more than a dozen bars closed early on Halloween night to try and distance themselves from festivities that have been plagued by violence in recent years.
Business owners say the Halloween partygoers in recent years have gotten out of hand.
Last year, three people in the bar district were stabbed in a street fight. In another incident, a 22-year-old woman was shot in the foot, just north of the main hub of bars.
The year before, shots were fired in the 600 block of S. Broadway.
Thames St. officially shut down at 5 p.m. Tuesday as police got ready for thousands of people who were expected to flood the streets in Fells.
But not everyone is celebrating.
Several of the nearby businesses shut down because they didn’t want to deal with the chaos.
As thousands got ready to celebrate Halloween in Fells, some businesses shut their doors.
Patrick Russell owns three restaurants, and he said disruptive crowds, coupled with the road closures, isn’t worth staying open.
“I’ve been in this business my whole entire life and I have to shut my business down where I can’t make a living to support my family because 5 o’ clock, this whole street is going to be shut down, you can’t park,” Russell said.
Police say they’ve learned lessons from previous Halloweens, where multiple people were stabbed and another was shot. So they’ll deploy more technology to watch over the crowds, and more officers in the crowds, but the department will not give away all the details.
“We normally don’t talk about specific numbers of officers and not specifically where they are going be, because people who want to circumvent that watch the news as well, so we kind of keep that close to the vest, but I can say that we have a large number of uniformed officers in and around the Fell’s Point area this evening,” said Baltimore PD Captain Jarron Jackson.
While several businesses have already made the decision to close early, others played it by ear, waiting to see if it was safe for their staff.
Russell says with three of his restaurants being closed, he could lose at least $30,000 on Halloween, but he’s at peace with his decision.
“I’m going to be able to sleep easy tonight,” he said. “I’m not going to make any money, but 6 o’ clock, 7 o’ clock, when we close down, I don’t have to worry about tomorrow morning figuring out what happened.”
“Halloween is a fun night, so I can get people going out, having a good time, but it’s when they take it too far, that’s when there is the issue,” said Joel Heavner.
On a night that is usually all about the young trick-or-treaters, Fells Point residents welcome a Halloween that will hopefully end with no drama.
One of the biggest complaints for business owners around here on Halloween is people walking around with open containers of alcohol. Police say they will be addressing that problem.
Thames St. will remain closed until 5 a.m. Wednesday morning.