One of items that was discussed in August 13th Highlands town hall meeting at the Rec Center was the growing concern from Shrewsbury Avenue residents on the violent occurrences arising from patrons leaving the Wind & Sea Bar at closing.
One of the incidents made the Asbury Park Press, where it was reported that Frank Montecalvo was walking to his car when he was approached by a group of men and beaten in the head with a wood board.
Chief Blewett disclosed that since July 20, 2012 there have been 38 calls from the Shrewsbury Avenue area, of which 19 can be directly attributed to Wind & Sea. He also stated that Wind & Sea owners have hired an additional officer to assist with incidents between the hours of 10 PM – 2 AM. He further summarized that with occupancy limit of 300 inside and an additional 100 outside at the Tiki bar, all of which leave approximately the same time, one additional officer is some what outnumbered.
The Mayor further voiced that if the police had too much presence that they would hear “Highlands Police are picking on local businesses.” – So they were looking suggestions on how to decrease the amount of incidents without disrupting a business’ right to make money.
Two things jump out to me:
A) Lower the allowable occupancy after a certain time. i.e. Tiki bar goes from 100 to 60 after 9 PM. Do they throw people out? No, but nobody else is allowed in. (Same thing with inside, lower from 300 to 225.)
B) Publicize the incidents. How come only 1 of the 19 calls made it in any of the local papers? Middletown posts their arrests on their web site. Highlands should consider doing the same. Will this deter all the idiots? No. You will always have knuckleheads, but it will deter some.