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Plan to fight crime on St. Mary's Strip

By EMILY BAUCUM
News 4 San Antonio
Facebook: Emily Baucum TV
Twitter: @EmilyBaucum

SAN ANTONIO - It's known as the St. Mary's Strip, the popular nightlife scene north of downtown. New investors have brought it back to life, but they're facing an old problem.

It's happened every time the Strip becomes popular: the area gets plagued by crime and the crowds disappear.

Now business owners say they've learned from mistakes of the past and have a plan to fight back.

Every weekend, thousands of people converge on the Strip's bars, restaurants and live music spots.

"There's just a new generation of club owners and restaurants owners," says Blayne Tucker, co-owner of The Mix.

He's leading the movement to make the Strip safer.

"When I see a vehicle that's crashed into the liquor store down the street or a car turned over in the middle of St. Mary's, those are big concerns," Tucker says.

Last month, a man was stabbed down the street. Tucker says all these incidents combined are warning signs that crime could escalate.

"We're looking for additional street lighting," he says. "We're looking for additional and improved crosswalks and we want variable speed limit signs."

But business owners can't do it alone. That's why Tucker's organized monthly meetings where owners, neighbors and city leaders can find solutions.

"Working on it together is the right way," District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino says.

He represents the area and promises to make proactive changes to prevent crime.

"The strategy is simply to be more diligent, to get more patrolling down there, better lighting to not create those spots where people can hide," Councilman Trevino says.

Tucker says history doesn't have to repeat itself - the historic Strip just needs the spirit of collaboration.

"I think we're seeing a new era with that, and a new spirit of people who do work down here," he says.

Business owners say their goal is to make the St. Mary's Strip the official entertainment district of San Antonio. With the success of The Pearl down the street, they're confident they can do that as long as crime is kept at bay.

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