BOWLING GREEN, OH (Toledo News Now) - Fighting, underage drinking, and public urination are happening outside the Wood County District Public Library. Library administrators said it has seen an increase in crime over the last year.
Police said it might have to do with lighting. The library parking lots are less visible than the surrounding parking areas, making them a target.
Whatever the root problem is, library administrators said they are going to put a stop to it as soon as possible.
Wood County library employees said they are used to picking up beer containers from their parking lots.
A recent study showed the library parking areas have nearly 10 times as many crime reports as surrounding city lots.
"I think a lot of people are taking advantage of it because the bars are right around the corner from the library. But it does need to be respected because there are a lot of children and it's right in the middle of town, where there's a lot of homes in the surrounding area," said Samantha Senn, a library visitor.
Police said most of the crime reports involved misdemeanors, such as fighting, public urination, and underage drinking. Officers said that is common in the city of Bowling Green, but recent for the library parking lots.
"We want to be a good downtown neighbor. So our first reaction was, you know, we'll just have our lots open to the public. But now this problem has occurred and we'll have to figure out how to have adequate parking, but also making sure that we're balancing the safety issue," said Michael Penrod, library director.
Possible solutions include installing security cameras, hiring off-duty officers, even closing the lot and towing violators.
Library administrators said they are not trying to turn people away.
"Please come use your library as a library. We welcome all. We're a busy, vibrant place, and we just want everyone to come use the library in a productive fashion," said Penrod.
Library employees said keeping the lots safe can only improve the surrounding community.