City Officials Announce $200K in Court Avenue Security Enhancements

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The City of Des Moines is joining several other city associations and organizations in adding additional safety measures for Court Avenue security.

The city announced a three-pronged approach Friday that includes more lighting and patrol officers.

Since multiple incidents of violence, including shooting death of 21-year-old Edmanuel Perez in November, the issue of security has been a concern for both residents and businesses in the Court Avenue district.

More recently, a 21-year-old man was threatened and nearly assaulted with by knife by four men in the 300 block of Court Avenue.

Operation Downtown has paid for additional security in the Court Avenue district during the summer months since 2011. The group collects funds for the services through a special tax on downtown property owners.

“An entertainment district and a vibrant downtown like this rests on few things that we have to have our A-game. And more important than anything is safety,” said city councilman at large Chris Coleman.

The city will also be installing state-of-the-art camera systems. Electronic Engineering donated nine high-definition cameras that will be placed in alleyways, parking lots and along the street.

Six additional patrol officers will be stationed in the Court Avenue District every weekend. Currently, off-duty officers are only paid during the summer months.

All of this will cost about $220,000.

Several different city entities and organizations including area hotels and housing units will help pay for the expenses.

A Court Avenue building manager said he's glad the financial burden doesn't fall on just the bars anymore.

"This will be a big boost for the downtown. I didn't have any real fears until recent activities, so this just really lifts my heart. This is good to hear," said Matt Funk.

Officials plan to have all these safety measures in place by the NCAA Tournament next month.

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