The Washington Examiner reports that the District is trying to quell the crowds of youth in Chinatown by hosting a Youth Engagement Program on Friday night.
However, several local business owners fear that the program will simply draw more young people to the area, going so far as to suggest that riots might break out.
Proof owner Mark Kuller says he just learned about the program Monday evening, and he is scared of what the crowds may bring. "It's a mistake to have a young engagement event in this area," Kuller told the Examiner, "the police have tried to disperse the crowds in London, too. If you don't think that can happen int he U.S., you're wrong."
Proof will be closing its patio Friday evening, losing more than one-third of their summer seating. The restaurant already had 100 reservations by Monday, and is now calling to confirm tables, informing patrons that G Street will be closed from 7th to 9th Streets.
The event runs from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and 8th Street will also be closed between G and H Streets.
Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Paul Quander admitted to leaving local business owners in the dark, saying he wanted to keep the event "low key." However, he does not think the event will draw young people from other areas, but will simply serve the youth that usually congregate near Gallery Place.
The city has been holding similar events around the city to stem summer violence. And to their credit, whether it is related or not, summer crime rates are low.