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Northgate getting more dangerous, according to police and paramedics

Posted at 12:34 AM, Aug 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-27 01:34:51-04

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — One of the topics of discussion at Thursday night's College Station city council meeting was Northgate.

The entertainment district and surrounding neighborhoods have been a cause for concern for police and firefighters, as they've noticed more and more people getting hurt.

Police and firefighters put together an extensive data-driven report that was presented to the city council Thursday night, relaying how first responders have been seeing an uptick in arrests and injuries in the Northgate area over the past three years.

The work of addressing these incidents is taken on in particular by bicycle-unit police officers and paramedics - paramedics like Nick Sutton of the College Station Fire Department. He and his colleagues will regularly jump right from their day-shift ambulances to their night-shift bikes, and clock the overtime necessary to patrol Northgate.

"So a lot of people think Northgate is all intoxicated people," Sutton said. "And a good majority of it is intoxicated... but we've seen a rise in assaults, traumatic injuries, and people falling down and getting hurt - not just because they're intoxicated, but because of large crowds. There are obstacles."

While Sutton doesn't mind doing the work, the recent spike in crime, illness, injury, and general crowding are hard to manage, according to the report. Especially when it comes to funding and staffing the responders necessary to patrol the bar district on weekends.

The police and fire departments have posed a series of short and long-term solutions they'd like the city council to consider, such as requiring businesses to have cameras and making the last call for drinks earlier.

"It's not fair to the businesses," said Texas A&M junior Carson Sever. "That's where they make most of their money, is at the end of the night when people try to buy their last drinks, stuff like that."

Sever, who is an occasional customer of the Northgate bars and restaurants, said that while some changes may be good, he wants the city to be deliberate about how they're addressing the route of the problem.

"The infrastructure upgrade is probably going to be a good thing, but at the same time, I don't want those upgrades to be used incorrectly," said Sever.

Those upgrades suggested by the departments include improvements to crosswalks, more bike lanes, and completed sidewalks. One Northgate apartment resident told KRHD she can see how changes to the area might improve safety.

"I literally almost got hit the other day because someone rolled through a stop sign," said Aubrey Hollis, Texas A&M sophomore. "... The crosswalks aren't very good. The one that I cross at is marked by like, the cobblestone, but not by actual paint."

One major point of the presentation notes that the tax revenue gained by the Northgate businesses annually is under $250,000, while the expenses of keeping bike cops and paramedics are nearing $2.8 million.

The city council will revisit this report later this year, according to city staff.

To read the full report, visit the following link:

NORTHGATE (cstx.gov)