Pearl Street businesses take precautions ahead of this year's Mall Crawl

BOULDER, Colo. — A Halloween tradition from years ago came back to life on Pearl Street last year, but it resulted in property damage for some nearby businesses.

The Pearl Street Mall Crawl is not a sanctioned or organized event, but involves University of Colorado at Boulder students meeting along Pearl Street in Halloween costumes and bar hopping. Cmdr. Barry Hartkopp has been with the Boulder Police Department for 32 years, and said the Mall Crawl was a Halloween tradition when he was a rookie.

“In 1992, we started taking significant steps such as diverting traffic from people coming into Boulder, various locations from Longmont as well as Denver, and making it very difficult for them to get to Pearl Street and found that was very effective,” Hartkopp said about tactics the department used to shut down the mall crawl in the early 90’s after violence and property damage occurred.

Pearl Street businesses take precautions ahead of this year’s Mall Crawl

Hartkopp said the Mall Crawl resurrected itself last year. And they saw similarities to what was happening in 1992.

“Predominantly property damage, people climbing on some of the structures downtown and causing some issues there,” Hartkopp said. “Obviously, we do not want to sit back and let it become a big problem again for the community, for our businesses downtown, for our officers.”

Last year, a few businesses on Pearl Street suffered property damage during the Mall Crawl. One of those was Japango.

“I would describe it as a riot. There were 50 people running amok. They destroyed all the patio furniture that we had. They were wooden benches, and it was basically a pile of sticks afterwards,” said Assistant General Manager for Japango Sean Brokaw. “There was a point where there were rioters trying to get into the restaurant, there was a barricade of employees stopping them from coming in.”

Brokaw said it was a frightening experience for both the employees and customers, so the restaurant closed early on Sunday. Japango also brought in their patio furniture as a precaution.

“We consider ourselves a very community-minded business — small business — and to have everything destroyed by people that are members of this community was really disheartening,” Brokaw said. “Take care of your community and be good to one another.”

Boulder police have extra staff working Sunday night. They encourage students to enjoy Pearl Street safely and responsibly.

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