Gina Mulhearn knows how crazy West University Avenue in the Midtown section of Gainesville gets during peak business hours.
“Some people can get rowdy,” said Mulhearn, a student at Santa Fe College, who works at a pizzeria on the strip across from the University of Florida. “But it’s mostly just drunk people doing crazy things by trying to impress their friends.”
While Mulhearn said most people there just want to have a good time, the numbers tell another story. There have been 1,020 crime incidents reported in the 1600 and 1700 blocks of both Northwest First Avenue and West University Avenue over the past five years, according to data compiled and made available on the city’s website.
“Not a lot of great things happen after the bars close,” said Sarah Vidal-Finn, director of the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).
“There’s been everything from sexual assaults to robberies – all the types of crimes that happen around entertainment districts,” she said. “We’re trying to make sure people get home safely.”