The three-story parking garage is located across the street from the Justice Center and opened just over two years ago.“We have received complaints from some downtown merchants over the past two or three weeks. One in particular had observed and heard late in the evening, some young adults or teenagers, on the upper level doing car maneuvers ... drifting,” said Deputy Chief Dale Phipps.
Drifting is a driving technique where the driver over-steers and essentially slides around a turn or corner.
“There had also been some complaints of drinking and kids acting stupid basically, so we obviously started some extra patrolling,” Phipps said. “We’ve spoken to the businesses last week, and they have noticed the behavior has lessened and an increased police presence.”
Cameras are located at the two entrances/exits of the parking garage, but none are located throughout the structure nor on the open, third floor. Phipps said he has requested an estimate for additional cameras throughout the structure, from the company that installed the existing cameras.
“By next week I should have some rough idea what it’s going to cost to fully involve the whole facility,” he said.
This subject came up at a recent Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, where elected officials appeared in agreement that additional cameras were needed on all floors and levels of the parking garage. Manpower-wise it’s impossible to have an officer in the garage at all times.
“I think you’ve got to provide equal coverage. We get them coming in and going out, but we don’t see what’s happening in between,” Phipps said. “This will give us a better view of what is actually occurring.”
No arrests have been made regarding the drifting and no structural damage to the garage has been noted.
A vehicle theft took place earlier this week, and the perpetrator was arrested soon after. Some vehicle vandalism has taken place, though a large portion of that is domestic-related. Phipps said no one has been assaulted or accosted in the parking garage, to his knowledge, nor have their been any drug-related arrests.
“It’s no more dangerous than any other part of the city,” he said.