The shooting of 8 people last Thursday night outside a downtown nightclub was an anomaly for Austin. The terrible incident at Spiros nightclub, however, brought to light the problems that come with the vibrant alcohol-driven nightlife on sixth street and the surrounding blocks.
After the incident, the Austin Police Department released an amazing set of statistics on Spiros nightclub:
– Since 2008, the police have responded to calls at Spiros 172 times
– Since November 2007, there have been 115 known thefts within 500 feet of the club
– During the same period, there have been 47 reported burglaries within 500 feet
– There have been 25 aggravated assaults in the immediate vicinity of the club
– There have been 7 assaults on a peace officer at the club
– APD reports 95 instances of possession of controlled substances, dangerous drugs, and marijuana
While Spiros may be one of the worst offenders — the City is now trying to shut the club down — it is an example of the ugly side of downtown. While the live music scene is one of the City’s cultural crown jewels, the best clubs are joined by more problematic venues. As in New Orleans and San Diego and Nashville, the combination of music, youth, and alcohol means that nightlife and crime often go hand in hand. That said, it is worth noting that no major downtown condo projects are in the immediate vicinity of Spiros and the worst 6th street crime.