Police increase patrol following Iowa City mall fights

Police have been called to the area at least 13 times in three months

Eight law enforcement vehicles can be seen in this photo of East Washington Street in Iowa City on the afternoon of Mond
Eight law enforcement vehicles can be seen in this photo of East Washington Street in Iowa City on the afternoon of Monday, December 12, 2011, after a report of a fight in progress. (Mark Carlson/SourceMedia Group News)

IOWA CITY  - Police in Iowa City will be spending more time at a busy bus-stop in downtown after a recent outbreak of fighting incidents.

Police Sergeant Denise Brotherton said more officers will patrol the area around the Iowa City transit stop on the North side of the Old Capitol Town Center. Police have been called to break-up fights in the area at least 13 times in three months.

"We've had more fights, more aggressive behavior," Brotherton said. "It's gotten a little extreme and the behavior is totally unacceptable."

Two people have been charged by police following fights on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Crowds of up to 50 people frequently gather at the stop. Many bus-riders wait for their bus inside the mall, especially during winter months.

"There are a lot of juveniles," said Brotherton. "Anytime you have unsupervised kids, you're going to have some issues."

Old Capitol Town Center manager Kevin Digmann said the mall is aware of the recent fighting and is trying to address concerns from the public.

"We are doing what we can do, but this is a community issue," said Digmann. "We really need some help from the city."

Bud Sueppel, who recently pulled his floral business from the mall, said the city needs to work with the University of Iowa to address the problem.

"I've never understood why they can't patrol there," said Sueppel, who noted that the University of Iowa police department headquarters is located in the mall.

University of Iowa Director of Public Safety, Chuck Green, said the University plans to also increase their presence at the mall in response to the recent violence."We too are concerned about overall safety for those who work and visit the mall and conduct themselves in a responsible manner;  they deserve our assistance," Green said in an emailed statement.

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