Recent attack at The Padre Hotel has some patrons raising concerns about safety downtown

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A recent attack at The Padre Hotel is raising concerns about safety downtown.

Two Bakersfield women say they've noticed more incidents at The Padre in the past year and they don't feel safe there.

"Every time I've gone something has happened. In the last, not even year, I've seen four different times something scary happen," said Kai Mercado.

"It seems to be attracting the wrong group of people," said Jennifer Dougherty.

Kai Mercado and Jennifer Dougherty decided to voice their opinions about the growing trend and write a letter to the Bakersfield Californian paper.

Mercado and Dougherty told 23ABC they aren't looking to shame The Padre, they just want something to change.

"We are not ignorant. We know when alcohol is around, patrons might get a little rowdy and sometimes incidents happen, but it should just be sometimes as opposed to often, and we feel it is becoming more of an occurrence," said Mercado.

Clifton Carmody, Director of Food and Beverage Operations with The Padre's parent company, told 23ABC safety is their number one priority and they will be stepping up security.

"Everything is on the table right now and we want to make sure our guests are happy and safe," said Carmody.
Carmody told 23ABC the hotel will be adding several security guards and enforcing the dress code among other things.

"We are going to seriously enforce this and it's discretionary so if we feel like someone isn't coming in for the right reasons we don't want them in here."

According to statistics from the Bakersfield Police Department, there have been 255 calls for service in the last year. Most of the calls were over the weekend in the early morning hours.

The number of calls has gone up, but Sgt. Joe Grubbs with the Bakersfield Police Department, told 23ABC it's not an unusually high number of calls for an establishment like The Padre.

"It's the kind of the thing that can happen anywhere," said Kevin Bartl, Chairman of the Downtown Business Association Board.

Bartl also said The Padre is a Bakersfield landmark and the DBA will continue to support it.

"It's a source of pride for downtown," said Bartl.

Still, Carmody told 23ABC they encourage their guests to speak out and they want them to feel comfortable at the hotel and bar.

"The Padre is a safe place. We believe we have a fundamentally safe hotel and safe venues, but obviously there is always room for improvement and we want to be the premiere spot between San Francisco and Los Angeles so every bit counts," said Carmody.

Dougherty and Mercado say they look forward to the new changes.

"We want to be able to go there still. We don't want it to be a place we don't feel comfortable going because we want to be able to keep going because we like The Padre. We enjoy the atmosphere. It's a really nice establishment, one of the nicest in town so we care enough to write letters. We want them to know this is how their customers are feeling," said Mercado.

The Padre is also looking at changing Prospect Lounge and maybe turning it into a lounge or wine bar.

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