LPD statistics show decade-long decrease in downtown assaults

LINCOLN, Neb. As Lincoln gets set for a busy weekend for nightlife with NCAA volleyball and nicer weather downtown bar goers will be happy to hear new statistics from the Lincoln Police Department.

It shows that downtown crime and more specifically assaults are decreasing at a faster rate than the rest of Lincoln.

From 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. O Street is buzzing with activity and the Lincoln Police Department says officers being a part of that buzz is helping to keep assaults down.

“We want them outside not only interacting with the bar owners and their staff but interacting with the patrons,” said Chief Jeff Bliemeister. “We want them to be highly visible and we believe that is a preventative component.”

The past 10 years shows a nearly 70 percent decrease in assaults during busy, late-night bar hours.

“Individuals that normally had gone to downtown bars are now going to those in the Haymarket so some of this problem of assault has been somewhat displaced,” said Bliemeister.

Matt Taylor owns Tavern on the Square and the Other Room in the Haymarket; he says ride sharing services are a tool he thinks has brought down the number of problems after closing time around his bars.

“My intuition tells me its Uber and Lyft that are giving people easier rides home and quicker rides home,” said Taylor. “They can get out of bad situations more easily.”

Both Taylor and LPD say having a good working relationship between bar owners and law enforcement helps squash problems before they even happen. One of the easiest fixes is not over-serving people at the bars.

“I think the younger age is not drinking as much,” said Taylor. “It’s kind of just a social think instead of going out to get crazy.”

While as a whole assaults in this area are on a fairly steady decline, there have been 52 assaults in 2019 compared to 42 for 2018 in total.