The Arlington Restaurant Initaitive: A Nightlife Policing Strategy to Improve Safety and Economic Viability

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Nightlife areas across the country are a challenge for law enforcement, communities, and business owners. Policing models that are not conducive to solving long-term issues are a drain on resources, fatigue officers, reduce trust in a police department, and are not sustainable over time. In the summer of 2015, the Clarendon neighborhood in Arlington County, Virginia, saw a sharp increase in alcohol-related crimes such as assaults, public intoxication, and assaults on officers. The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) tried a new approach that shifted focus from enforcement alone to a model of intervention, prevention, and guidance. The ACPD Restaurant Liaison Unit was created to meet the goals of reducing alcohol-related harm, improving safety, and providing training to restaurant staff. As is evidenced in the ACPD model, success starts with a commitment to building relationships and gaining the trust of restaurant owners, managers, and staff.



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