Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno held a press conference on crime in downtown Springfield on Saturday after two late-night shootings in the area.
"We have plenty of good establishments in our downtown, whether it's The Fort, Theodore's, Smith's Billiards," Sarno said. "But when these incidents occur at 3 o clock in the morning, there's been no cooperation."
Sarno said there are certain downtown establishments that continue to attract the negative element, referring to those people at "gang bangers".
Sarno told Western Mass News he will consider re-introducing a 1 a.m. closing time for the city of Springfield. "It's not only local gang bangers, but Connecticut gang bangers as well. They come here from Hartford after 1 a.m. for last call," Sarno said.
Deputy Chief William Cochrene stood beside Mayor Sarno.
"I've been watching the crime down here as a Deputy Chief for almost 10 years and what we find is when we have a violent crime, the officers will respond, put their own lives in jeopardy, chasing people down who might have guns," said Cochrene. "Once they either detain someone or grab somebody, there's a lack of cooperation by witnesses and lack of cooperation from victims."
Mayor Sarno says undercover operations will continue in the downtown area. If found guilty, he says "they will face severe sanctions and revocation of any of their licenses. This is for the good of the good-running establishments and also for the good of the city of Springfield".
Cochrene says that all bars have to abide by the city ordinances and state law.
"We have our Strategic Impact Unit which also enforces the liquor law violations," he said.
Cochrene adds crimes would be easier to solve if somebody would step up and "tell us who did it, who had the gun, or who made the assault".
Copyright 2015 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.