Following issues that have been raised of loitering and overcrowding in the City of Champaign’s downtown district, Police are working with a number of City and community officials to address public safety and are asking for citizen support to help tackle these concerns.
Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb notes that many of the issues aren’t necessarily new to nightlife establishments, but communication reminders to citizens as well as enforcement action will be a part of the Department’s approach to address the recent concerns.
“We want our citizens and visitors to fully enjoy themselves…yet the expectation is that it is done responsibly. We are not here to shut people out, but rather to help enforce the expectations and as greatly as we can, limit any incidents that lead to the endangerment of people’s safety,” expressed Chief Cobb.
Issues such as standing in the roadway, loitering on sidewalks, carrying open alcohol and consuming alcohol in parking lots or public roadways are all offenses of concern and are infractions for which an individual can be given a citation, at the minimum cost of $195 per violation.
“The problem is that these minor infractions each have their own cause of worry, but they also can unfortunately escalate to major calls for service,” Cobb continued. “As we work through these concerns, our officers will be increasing enforcement to help reduce the safety risks to our community.”
In addition to the enforcement action, Police have been working with City officials and bar establishments to identify sustainable measures and solutions. Outdoor regulations, increased signage, bar security and zoning are all discussions that are being had to continue the safety and promotion of downtown.
“We welcome everyone to continue to come out and enjoy our beautiful downtown,” said Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen. “But we expect everyone to do so responsibly and to follow the rules that are in place to help ensure the public’s safety.”
Police will have a visible presence on Friday and Saturday nights and will be taking extra enforcement actions. Citizens are encouraged to follow City regulations related to open alcohol, obstructing access to sidewalks and roadways, and other violations. City of Champaign compliance includes:
- No person shall transport, carry, possess or have any alcoholic liquor within the driver or passenger area of any motor vehicle except in the original package and with the seal unbroken.
- No person shall carry any open containers of alcoholic liquor out of any liquor service premises.
- No person shall loiter, loaf, wander, stand or remain idle either alone and/or in consort with others in a public place in such manner so as to: obstruct any public street, public highway, public sidewalk or any other public place or building by hindering or impeding or tend to hinder or impede the free and uninterrupted passage of vehicles, traffic or pedestrians
For a complete review of City of Champaign Ordinances, visit: www.champaignil.gov/CityCode