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Bartender Gets Community in on Downtown Crime Prevention

Created: 12/02/2013 11:19 PM WDIO.com

A Duluth bartender tells Eyewitness News she's fed up with crime downtown, and it's time for her to get involved in the fight against it.

Bartender Jona Johnson said Monday "I want to stay in the Hillside area because I like that area."

The 30-year-old does a lot of walking downtown. She works in downtown, lives nearby, and she's got big ideas.

"I want to make it safer for the people who do walk around downtown."

Johnson has been a bartender on and off for the last decade. Over the last year she said it seems she's been hearing more stories of people being attacked or jumped. But it wasn't until about two weeks ago her friends were jumped near 4th Avenue East and Superior Street that she decided to do something about it.

"It just was like the final straw for me it hit so close to home," she said.

Enough was enough. So Johnson took to Facebook, then set up a meeting about what to do next. "I had no idea who would come but a lot of people reached out to me."

Johnson said about 10 people showed up - a police officer and other community members.

"We're still in the really beginning phases of even approaching the city and coming up with ideas," she said.

She's got plenty already.

"A couple people each week go out and kind of patrol the streets." Like a downtown Citizen Patrol. She said police could help make it happen.

Johnson said "there are ways that they will donate cell phones and vests and help us with that program."

Why now? In addition to last month's attack she said "a lot of it has to do with the face that I'm a mother now."

She has an 11-month-old girl and wants to "make sure she can grow up in a great place."

Johnson said the next step is to take her ideas to other downtown bars to get their input.

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