Greensboro, NC -- Police Chief Tim Bellamy wants to fight violent crimes by closing businesses where crime repeatedly occurs. That falls under a nuisance abatement law. City leaders can't agree on who's responsible for enforcing it.
In the past, the district attorney has been responsible. But the D.A.'s office says it does not have the resources. It would have to hire a law firm to carry out the process. An attorney with the city said the department will work with the chief to do what's in the best interest of the public.
Bellamy wants to shut down Studio 508, Jabs Ultra Bar and Lost Dimensions. Some neighbors of those businesses are in favor of the nuisance abatement.
"There's always people hanging out there, drinking, cursing, smoking or whatever. I tend to kind of put a little something in my pocket when i go through there," said Benjamin Whittington, who lives near Studio 508.
An attorney with the city said she does not think the city's legal department has ever handled a nuisance abatement case.
Police Captain George Holder told WFMY News 2 the police department first started nuisance abatements in 1993. Since then, he thinks it's handled about five cases.
He said, some businesses address concerns and don't have to close. Other businesses end up closing before attorneys step in.
Anyone can initiate a nuisance abatement - including the district attorney, attorney general, cities, counties and private citizens.
Whoever starts the process must accumulate data about criminal activity at the address. Then, they file a lawsuit asking the business be forced to close.A judge hears the case and reviews the evidence.
WFMY News 2