The absence of gunfire in Old Town has been a welcome change after four straight weekends of reports of shots fired. Police are treating the trouble with the seriousness it deserves and stepping up their presence in the nightlife district. Their attention is especially focused on the key hours of 12:30 to 2:30 a.m. on weekends, around the time the bars close, and in one block of North Mosley. Police, city officials and business owners will hold another meeting Friday to work toward a long-term plan for Old Town security. Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz told The Eagle editorial board Thursday that changes in how police enforce the curfew, address loitering and handle traffic may be part of the strategy, along with some “tweaking” of ordinances. But he also stressed that “statistically, nothing has changed over the last two or three years in Old Town – it’s a safe area” – but that “we have some very specific times and geography to talk about.” A poll by SurveyUSA, sponsored by KWCH, Channel 12, showed why it’s important to be aggressive about the issue: 82 percent of those polled Tuesday said they’d heard of the string of shootings, and 62 percent said they’d be less likely to visit Old Town because of them. According to KAKE, Channel 10, the shootings also have inspired a tasteless T-shirt.
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