|Updated: 9/04/2012 5:26 pm
||Published: 9/04/2012 3:58 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Is the River Market safe at night? Depends who you ask.
Terri and Andre Stephens think so.
"We were here last night just walking," said Andre, "and we felt it was extremely safe."
Cylie Cain though, who was in town Tuesday with her son, heard differently.
"During the day it's perfectly fine but at night time it's like a lot of criminals and crimes," she said, "stuff like that."
So now the question is -- which answer is right?
University of Arkansas at Little Rock Doctoral Student Tom Zawisza, who's studying criminal justice, wanted to find out. He, along with three other doctoral students, replicated studies done in other, similar environments in Australia and Canada.
"What they looked at was how does the outside environment of the bar area kind of promote or facilitate aggression," Zawisza explained.
Zawisza says those studies showed that overcrowding led to aggression -- like pushing, shoving, and fighting. The River Market, however, was a different story.
"What we found was quite the opposite," said Zawisza. "We had no overcrowding in the River Market area. They blocked off the streets. The police kind of managed, managed the crowd very well."
So here's Zawisza's conclusion: "people going out to drink can be safe if the right initiatives are taken."
He thinks Little Rock is taking those initiatives. In other words, police along with bar management make sure, relatively speaking, that people have their space at night -- and that makes you safer.