NoDa Business Fights Back After Crime

Charlotte, NC — A local business owner is working to create change after being caught in the middle of crime in Charlotte.

A literary lounge is not a place customers say they’d expect a stabbing to break out or a shooting outside.

“It’s like a library, you know?” said Allen Simmons. “It’s an open environment where you can have a discussion without being judged about what you believe.”

However, Red at 28th has been caught in that violence before, and, once again, it’s talking about it.

“How can we prevent it? What are some of the things that lead people to crime?” said Manager Greg Williamson.

Every Monday, the lounge hosts a discussion on things like social issues, race, politics, and violence in Charlotte.

“To create that safe haven for people,” said Williamson. “This is a place you talk about your problems, seek resolution, with people who may or may not look like you, to come to common understanding.”

Just last week, bullets flew in the crowded NoDa parking lot near Red @ 28th and Amelie’s French Bakery.

CMPD says the gunman left Red @ 28th, pistol-whipped a woman and fired shots into two cars.

In March, Aldon Lawrence was arrested for stabbing five people during a fight at the University City Red @ 28th location, hurting business.

“It’s really disheartening,” said Owner Jazz Vincent. “You can shut somebody down when you get in a fight in a club, brings a negative vibe to it.”

The owner already had security conducting metal detector searches and patrolling outside. He and other owners in NoDa want an officer to sit outside on busy nights.

Plus, he hopes the meetings will motivate customers to be a part of the change in Charlotte.

“The discussion has to happen,” said Simmons. “There has to be communication, then let’s apply it. Let’s do something about it.”