SALEM — Salem police plan to crack down on city bars after a stabbing and brawl early Saturday morning, the second major incident in the past month outside downtown drinking establishments.
“We share the frustration of people who live down there,” said police Chief Paul Tucker. “We will address this and we will fix this, whatever it takes.”
In addition to speaking to bar owners, police say they will beef up forces this weekend.
“I think it’s safe to say there’s going to be a larger police presence down there,” said Capt. Brian Gilligan. “I think we have to send a message to patrons and the people operating these establishments that it’s just not going to be tolerated.”
The two most serious incidents took place when the Friday night crowds spilled out of the bars around 1 a.m.
This past weekend, a man was stabbed during a fight on Washington Street involving a crowd estimated at 50 people. The victim was taken to Salem Hospital with a wound that was not life-threatening, police said.
On Sept. 8 — again early on a Saturday morning — eight young men, most in their mid-20s, were arrested after police responded to a fight on Washington Street involving about 20 individuals.
On other weekends this fall, police have dealt with a number of skirmishes in the downtown, which attracts hundreds of young people on weekends.
There also have been incidents of property damage and vandalism on weekend nights, police said. Rouge Cosmetics on Derby Street, for example, has reported hundreds of dollars in damage to planters and shrubs.
“It’s not good,” said Rosemary O’Connor, head of the Mack Park Neighborhood Association, an active community organization. “It gives the city a bad reputation.” Although other establishments have been linked to bar problems in recent years, Bangkok Paradise, a Washington Street restaurant, was mentioned by police this past weekend. According to a police report, the fights “involved Bangkok’s patrons” and the bar’s bouncers were “ineffective or unwilling” to disperse the crowd.