Sarasota Police hope restricting business hours cuts back on violence

SARASOTA, FLA - Sarasota police want the city to pass an ordinance forcing business along MLK in Newtown to close early.

The issue is along a small stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Way between Highway 301 and Osprey Avenue.

Police say in the last year and a half they have received hundreds of calls for service.

But after more than an hour of discussion and public input, the meeting ended with no decision.

Chief Bernadette DiPino showed city commissioners video of two incidents from earlier this month where shots were fired around a large crowd of people in the street.

DiPino wants the city to implement an ordinance that would require stores along the stretch to close between 11 pm and 6 am.

We spoke to a business owner who has two convenience stores in the area. He says his stores are not the problem, and he would suffer as a result of the ordinance.

"I'm not being blind," said Basher Itraish. "There is an issue but I have nothing to do with it. It's the other business that are staying open late until three, four, five o'clock in the morning. And that's where all the trouble is starting."

The ordinance would also mean parking restrictions on the street.

The commissioners decided to get further input before making a final ordinance.  They are expecting a full report from the police in a future meeting.

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