Home>775Times>Reno City Council Revoked the Liquor Licenses of Two Downtown Convenience Stores, Citing Criminal Concerns

Reno City Council Revoked the Liquor Licenses of Two Downtown Convenience Stores, Citing Criminal Concerns

By TheNevadaGlobeStaff, December 15, 2022 7:48 am

RENO, Nev. (775 Times, NV Globe) – The Reno city council decided Wednesday to remove the liquor licenses of two downtown convenience shops, which authorities say deplete law enforcement and fire resources and are related with increased crime rates.

Council members decided 5-2 to restrict the sale of alcoholic drinks at Wrightway Market and Lakemill Maxi Mart indefinitely.

According to the Reno Police Department, the outlets have greatly outpaced other similar companies in terms of calls for service and violent crime.

Deputy Chief Oliver Miller rattled off crime figures for both companies, including a killing that occurred outside the Lakemill site in August.

The votes to remove their licenses were met with vehement resistance from representatives representing both businesses, who feared that the suspension of their liquor licenses would force them out of business. They also accused city officials of misusing call-for-service data to justify the crackdown.

Mayor Hillary Schieve said the suspension of these two liquor licenses should send a message to other “bad actors” in the downtown area.

“I’m tired of saying we’re going to clean up downtown – let’s put our money where our mouth is and get it done,” Schieve said.

“I’m going to send a clear message – either we’re going to clean it up or you’re going to go”.

According to Wrightway Market representatives, the market’s closeness to the neighboring RTC bus station encourages many 9-1-1 callers to name it as a reference location, falsely increasing call for service statistics with calls that may or may not be at the market itself.

“Nearly half the calls that we looked at were either cancelled, redundant logs or calls for instances in the area around the intersection,” said Bianka Dodov, an attorney representing the Wrightway Market.

She claimed that the license suspension would be a “death sentence” for the market, which is heavily reliant on alcohol sales.

Damon Booth, an attorney representing Lakemill Maxi Mart, had similar worries regarding misunderstood call for service data. Many calls were for the Lakemill Lodge, which is on the same land but is run by a separate company.

Miller informed council members that the Reno Police Department’s internal system cannot distinguish between calls made at the hotel and those made at the ground-floor liquor shop.

Following a lengthy debate, council members decided 5-2 to terminate the licenses of both shops. Mayor Schieve and councilmembers Reese, Martinez, Duerr, and Taylor voted in favor of revocation, while councilmembers Brekhus and Ebert voted against it.

Brekhus and Ebert both voiced worry about the calls for service numbers, fearing that they would not be applied uniformly to other firms.

“What if a lot of that activity is related to pedestrians who have nothing to do with Wrightway, they just happen to be in the area because they are (RTC) transit users?” Brekhus said.

Schieve stated that she intends to take similar action against other firms that contribute significantly to requests for police, fire, and emergency medical services.

“This is going to be a new day downtown,” she said.

Credits: Fox Reno

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