ATLANTA — Barbershops have long been the perfect spot for a cut and convo. Friday night was no different at Studio 6 Barber Lounge in Atlanta.
This Atlanta shop buzzed with chatter from former and current Atlanta police officers and citizens
“All of them, they start slow and then they pick up once people start to get comfortable," said Ty Dennis
Dennis started Clippers and Cops more than 16 years ago. He retired from APD and moved to St. Louis, but still makes his way down to have the monthly conversations.
“As law enforcement... the goal is trying to build those relationships," Dennis said. "We can’t wait until something happens to try and build a relationship. We have to build it long before it ever happens”
Friday's topic started with an Atlanta ordinance that would give the city authority to shut down businesses with two or more “violent conduct or crime” reports over a two-year period.
Some feel the ordinance targets bars and nightclubs.
Dennis said, “Crime is up and basically some of the club owners feel like they’re being targeted as a scapegoat but at the same time, some of the clubs are havens for crime.”
One gentleman in the shop said he works at a local club and feels the most incidents that take place at clubs are spillover from something that happened inside.
“If it started in my establishment, spills out into the streets, the street is city of Atlanta property. So, whatever happens in the street, I shouldn’t be held accountable for," he explained.
Others think more police should be stationed nearby clubs.
“But, based on that, most establishments have to hire those law enforcement officers and most time frames they don’t wanna incur that cost," said retired APD detective Orrick Curry. "And some of those establishments don't even want police on their property."
Others in the crowd questioned if hotels, gas stations, and any other business would receive the same complaints. And should the business owner be responsible for a person's choice to commit a crime?
"If these people are kicked out of a place and they decide to continue their fight in the parking lot or the street, that's still two grown adults who made their own decision," said one woman in the shop.
The argument also turned to whether closing a business because of issues would lower crime, or if it would just spill over somewhere else.
Curry said, “I know it’s not gonna stop all the crime. They just will have to find another place to put their energy and that’s when the street racing happens."
“At the end of the day," added Dennis, "people picking up guns and they don’t know how to fight no more and that’s part of the problem. We don't have fights anymore, we have mass shooting."
There’s not a lot of agreement at Studio 6 by the time the conversation ended, but that’s the beauty in the conversation, to hear as many opinions as possible.
“Gotta be able to hear the voices of the streets and hear the cries of the community, otherwise what are you really doing," said Dennis.
That ordinance will go in front of the city council in a few days - on Aug. 1.
If passed, there would be a loophole for businesses changing property ownership or business names to avoid closure.