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Tallahassee businesses concerned over rise in violent crime

Posted at 8:54 PM, Apr 24, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A shooting at a popular restaurant in Midtown is another example of a rise in violent crime in Tallahassee.

Phoenix Moon is one of the managers at The Rose Room, a LGBTQ bar that opened on Monroe Street this year. Moon said he saw that shooting happen.

"We were outside and heard the gunshots start to ring out," Moon said. "We of course immediately pulled everybody back inside and went into lock down, secured the doors and got them away from the windows."

He said his patrons were shocked and scared when they witnessed that gun fire.

"They were very upset. They were very scared," Moon said. "At the time, we didn't know if we were being shot at or just shots ringing out near us. But, it was literally right across the street, right across the parking lot, so it was very scary."

A rise in violent crime is what the City of Tallahassee cited in a proposal for a $9.5 million increase in funding for the Tallahassee Police Department. The city will put this idea forward in a city commission budget workshop Wednesday.

However, owner of Kool Beanz Café Keith Baxter said this increase in violent crime started years ago.

He has operated his business in Tallahassee for twenty-seven years and said he has only seen crime go up.

"In the context of my business, we found a loaded gun in the ladies room about two years ago sitting on the hand sink," Baxter said. "I just think it's the way of the world, this country right now."

But, the City of Tallahassee hopes adding 20 more officers and new technology could be the answer to stopping this crime. The city is proposing the funds for this come from property tax dollars.

City staff is proposing about a 3.3% increase in property tax, which they said would equate to an increase of $12 a month, or $139 a year.

For now, Moon said he hopes this violence comes to an end.

"I haven't seen anything else like this," Moon said. "It's a first for us and hopefully the last."

This proposed budget increase for TPD still has a ways to go. A city spokesperson said the final decision will be made sometime in the fall.