The scene on a typical Saturday afternoon at Humpy's Alehouse in Anchorage is a far cry from the downtown nightlife that's been under scrutiny by the community for the frequent number of violent incidents.
On October 19, a man was severely beaten in front of the Gaslight Lounge and later died from his injuries a week later. The incident occurred several blocks from Humpy’s but it’s still disturbing for General Manager Pete Burns.
"People come in sometimes, and they're shaking their head on things that they see going on in the streets outside,” Burns said. “Whether it’s pan-handlers people asking for money, people camped out at city hall, teenagers in the park strip getting into fights that spill over into this area.”
Burns is happy the Anchorage Police Department has added eight extra officers to midnight patrol shifts on Friday and Saturday nights. The officers are being moved from other beats where they weren’t needed.
"This kind of behavior is getting to be a little too much, a little too extreme, and that we would all like to be able to enjoy downtown Anchorage, anytime in any area of downtown freely,” said APD Spokeswoman Jennifer Castro.
The patrols will only last through the end of the year, so downtown leaders are trying to come up with long term solutions to prevent violent incidents from happening.
“Things like improving the lighting in and around your business and on city streets, to longer term goals like increasing the residential component of downtown,” said Chris Schutte of the Downtown Partnership.
Burns is worried about crime in general and how it affects Anchorage’s image.
“Bar break issues happen everywhere, the biggest issue that I see is that people don't come; this is Anchorage, this is a great city,” Burns said. “This is my home now; I've been here 19 years."
APD says no extra money is being used to pay for the increased patrols.