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Atomic Cowboy in Westport says safety is top of mind following fatal shooting nearby

'I feel like it definitely just drives our business away'
Levi Johnson
Posted at 5:16 PM, May 29, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Levi Johnson, supervisor and bartender at Atomic Cowboy in Westport, said his staff's safety awareness has heightened since the fatal shooting early Sunday morning just to the east of the entertainment district.

Johnson has worked at the restaurant since 2020.

"I feel like it definitely just drives our business away," he said.

Over the years, Johnson said his employees have become very aware of their surroundings when closing the restaurant at midnight on weekends.

“I mean, our restaurant alone has had multiple break-ins through our back door, multiple of our employees’ cars have been broken into and stolen as well," he said.

To address safety concerns, Westport puts up barriers around the entertainment district's pedestrian-only area on weekend nights.

“I know how we have the car curfew as well, like there’s no cars allowed to drive within the roads right here between a certain time either to protect people also," Johnson said.

The district also checks IDs and uses metal detectors when weather permits.

As part of the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department's summer entertainment district plan, the department is increasing its presence in an attempt to curb crime.

"The increased police presence would definitely be a good thing for us," Johnson said.

KCMO City Councilmember Crispin Rea said from what he's observed, Westport's safety measures have "drastically" reduced incidents inside the entertainment district.

He said it's important to note this weekend's fatal shooting took place outside the entertainment district. Still, he said the city can focus on combating crime that attracts large crowds.

“You see a lot of the car sideshows, a lot of the burnouts and spinnings, and those types of activities," Rea said. "The police department has been cracking down on those and confiscating vehicles and writing tickets and issuing warrants.”