LIMA — The aftermath of the triple homicide at Levels Lounge earlier this month has inspired at least one bar to increase security, acknowledging the public’s fear that downtown Lima might not be safe after hours.
“It made everyone a bit skittish,” said Devin Muniz, who manages Zinum 12 on High Street.
The Friday after the homicide was the slowest night Muniz has seen since opening Zinum last September. So Muniz implemented new security measures — like more bouncers and doormen to check for weapons and watch for fights — to make sure patrons feel safe when they visit during late-night hours.
Muniz even ordered a wand — something he’d never considered doing before, afraid that checking for guns at the door would scare customers away — to stay proactive and give patrons more confidence that they’ll be safe while visiting Zinum.
Business returned to normal the next weekend, when Muniz announced the security changes on Facebook.
“We know we’re doing the right thing to give our customers peace of mind that hey, we know what’s going on,” Muniz told The Lima News as he was preparing the security changes last week. “We know that you guys are a little bit timid to come out right now. But we’re doing all the right stuff to make sure that you guys are safe when you’re here.”
The revival in downtown Lima has long been challenged by the perception that Lima is dangerous. And those concerns are not entirely without merit: the triple homicide at Levels Lounge, which occurred in the early morning hours on Tuesday, Feb. 4, was just blocks away from several of downtown Lima’s most popular restaurants.
The Lima Police Department has increased its presence around the downtown area to address those concerns, according to Lt. Ronald Holman.
“We want people to have a good time and we want people to be safe,” Holman said.
The owners of Levels have agreed to sell the bar after the City of Lima requested a temporary restraining order in an effort to close the bar permanently, following the deaths of Terell McGraw, 28, Devontae Upsaw, 24, and Timothy White, 25, who were found shot to death in or just outside the bar on Feb. 4.
Jennifer Brogee, the part-owner of several downtown businesses, including The Meeting Place on Market and Shop for Good Boutique, has been battling the perception that downtown Lima is dangerous since she opened her first business here 17 years ago.
She’s seen that perception slowly change, with more positive buzz generated in the past year than at any other point since Brogee’s been downtown.
“There’s a better perception of downtown overall, but people that still live in the outlying communities are worried,” Brogee said. “I feel like it’s a false perception.”
Or as Muniz put it: “It’s sadly not something that Lima’s not accustomed to dealing with. I think everyone will bounce back from it.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.