In light of recent fights on Eddy Street, South Bend outline approach to public safety
Recently filed court documents paint a chaotic picture of the scene on Eddy Street on Sept. 23.
As Notre Dame’s football team was busy playing Ohio State, there was an argument between a group of young people and another man outside of Brother’s Bar and Grill. As police attempted to arrest participants in the fight, the whole area erupted into a scene that eventually led to five people being criminally charged as people harassed officers as they were handcuffing suspects and other fights broke out.
Court documents also say one man apparently unconnected to the original fight fled to his car and tried to drive off, but was stopped and police found a stolen gun.
That commotion followed on the heels of another large disturbance on Eddy Street over Labor Day weekend when police say a crowd of juveniles were fighting. A department spokeswoman said no arrests have been made in connection to those events, but one person fired a gun and one person was hit by a car.
But fights and other disturbances aren’t new to Eddy Street. In 2013 a man was shot outside of Brother’s in a large brawl. In 2018, South Bend police and Kite Realty — which owns and developed Eddy Street — received permission to shut down the street at night during home games and other busy weekends.
The ability to block motor traffic on Eddy Street is one measure at the disposal of South Bend police as they think about public safety along the busy corridor.
“Our command staff at the South Bend Police Department, along with Kite Realty and Notre Dame are committed … if we see a problem, we’re going to address it and we’re going to commit the resources necessary to make it a safer place,” Sgt. Corey Calvert said.
That’s Sgt. Cory Calvert who serves a liaison between South Bend Police and Kite Realty. He said South Bend cops have done off-duty shifts providing security around Eddy Street for years, but going forward, there will be even more officers out.
He added that some Eddy Street establishments which used to have unarmed security working are now moving to hiring off-duty police. In the Sept. 23 incident, the first two officers on the scene were off-duty officers working at Brother's.
But more modern methods are also part of the police department’s strategy. Even before the most recent fights, Calvert said Kite Realty was in the process of connecting its cameras to the police department’s Real Time Crime Center. Now officers can see what the cameras on Eddy Street see in real time as opposed to most businesses which grant police access to cameras only if there’s an emergency.
“They’re going to be the first business throughout the city that’s giving the full access to the police department. So the normal police detail can have full access to any of the cameras on Eddy Street at any time,” he said.
Kite Realty did not respond to an interview request from WVPE.
Calvert said the businesses along Eddy Street are good about working with police to prevent potential incidents and noted Brother’s now shutting down a bit earlier and Five Guys doing online-only orders past 2 a.m. on weekends. Calvert added officials have also increased the fine for cars parked illegally around the area in an effort to cut down on unwanted traffic.
Even with that, the sheer number of people who come to Eddy Street means the area is likely to be a hot spot. There’s no shortage of interest in Notre Dame football and Eddy Street is close to downtown as well as South Bend’s School field, which Calvert said may have been what drew the large number of juveniles on Labor Day.
But there are signs security measures are working. Through the end of September this year, South Bend police have been called to Brother’s 19 times, including everything from fights to people being locked out of their cars. Last year through September that number sat at 28.
“Whether you're a local or you’re coming to the Notre Dame game, it’s a safe and inviting place to visit,” Calvert said. “There are isolated incidents. If you look at Eddy Street Commons compared to the city as a whole, we’ve had very few large incidents like this.”