Disorderly conduct citations up on Lower Broadway

(WSMV file photo)

Metro police have issued more citations for disorderly conduct on Lower Broadway in 2017 than the past four years combined, according to data obtained by the the News 4 I-Team.

Lower Broadway is the epicenter of Nashville tourism. It’s the street visitors talk about when they go back home.

Downtown Nashville is known for its party scene, but some people claim it's rowdier than ever before.

A local business owner said the atmosphere has him concerned about the safety of his employees and visitors.

"I'm a business man, I want this fixed today," said Ed Smith. "Tonight wouldn't be too quick."

Smith owns four boot stores on Broadway, and he's been in business for more than 30 years.

He said he's seen it all, but he’s worried by recent images caught on his plethora of surveillance cameras.

Over the course of one month, the cameras captured everything from public urination to crosswalk collisions to what appears to be drug deals.

"We cannot let this go another day," Smith said.

The I-Team found at least 43 disorderly conduct citations have been issued so far in 2017. That's more than the past four years combined: 10 citations.

And consider this: In 2014, police dispatched to Smith's four properties a total of 44 times.

This year, make that number 220.

Those calls dealt with everything from simple business checks to suspicious persons to burglaries.

Smith's daughter, Joanna Gooch, works at Betty Boots. She said she's noticed people blocking sidewalks and others jumping into the store's windows.

One employee recorded a confrontation with a man who appeared to be intoxicated. When she asked him to move from the doorway, he made a vulgar gesture.

Smith said more officers on Broadway could prevent dangerous situations.

"I want officers on duty doing something about it," he said.

Metro police said they are doing something about it. Extra patrols are added for weekends and special events.

"We do try to respond. Even if we had 100 officers in that two to three block area, all of a sudden they could be tied up ," said Commander Gordon Howey, who runs the Central Precinct.

It's no secret Nashville is booming. With more visitors than ever before, Howey said more people mean more issues.

Still, he considers Broadway no worse than other parts of town.

"There are hand-to-hand drug sales all over this county, unfortunately," Howey said. "This is going to occur no matter what."

Over the past three years, the number of patrol officers working out of central precinct has roughly remained the same, according to data provided by Metro police: 2017: 33 patrol officers 2016: 39 patrol officers 2015: 33 patrol officersMetro police also rely on his crime suppression units to crack down on street drug sales.

Of course many Nashvillians believe Broadway is actually better than ever.

Broadway sported an entirely different reputation in the 1980s, when peep shows, massage parlors and pawn shops could be found all over downtown.

Mayor Dick Fulton led the charge to clean up Broadway, a process that was carried on by successive leaders.

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