Local News

When a Night Out Turns Dangerous

Posted April 2, 1999

— Durham police say they've about had it with what's going on outside one nightclub.

There has been a series of attacks, which have led to people being seriously hurt and even two people killed. Now there's a demand for increased safety.

The problem is in the parking lot outside The Power Company nightclub. Nearby residents say Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays the danger escalates as the parking lot fills with hundreds of people. And, they say, sometimes that number goes into the thousands.

Ironically, a lamppost in the parking lot proclaims "No Loitering by order of the City Manager." But the sign has virtually no effect.

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, police say a fight broke out in the parking lot adjoining the night club. One man was sent to the hospital, in critical condition.

Back in December, a fight erupted in a parking deck adjacent to the parking lot, and one man was shot, two more were shot dead.

Michael Mosier lives in an apartment that overlooks the parking lot.

"Cars have been broken into, people have been shot. You wonder if your car will be broken into, how loud the noise is going to be, whether there will be gunshots," Mosier says.

He says a little noise occasionally would not be a problem.

Dwight Pettiford of the Durham Police Department says whenever there is a "large, large, large crowd, there is always the potential for danger."

According to Pettiford, the nightclub's owner had promised to hire security guards to enhance safety. The owner had agreed to use off-duty police officers on nights the club is open. But Thursday morning no such officers were present, Pettiford said.

In a telephone interview with WRAL-TV5, the owner said there were fewer customers so he decided to cut back on the number of security personnel.

The owner says he will work with police to make the area safe.

As for Mosier, he says he is "shocked they cannot keep this problem under control." Mosier sees it as a "localized problem."

Meantime, the Durham City Council will discuss the situation at their Monday night meeting, and Mosier is one who hopes the late night nightmare will end.

And the city is the owner of the parking lot.


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