Wave of violent attacks leaves some people on edge

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) The mass shooting at a California bar was the fourth "soft target" attack in the U.S. in recent weeks. Our Ike Bendavid talked with people in Burlington to find out how safe they feel in Vermont's public places.

People in downtown Burlington say recent mass shootings won't change what they do.

"It won't affect my lifestyle. But do I think there needs to be a call for gun safety? One-hundred percent," said Elaine Ezerins of Richmond.

"I usually see a pretty strong police presence, so I think generally I feel pretty safe downtown," said Jason Parker of Burlington.

Downtown Burlington bar owners and employees say the California shooting is tragic, but it isn't changing the way they do business because safety is always their top priority.

"You should feel safe on the street when you're coming out to a bar trying to have a good time. And as a result we put a lot of effort into trying to make you as safe as possible," said Chris Petrillo of Half Lounge.

"Our biggest priority is keeping people safe in here. Selling pizza and beer is kind of secondary for us," said Sam Tolstoi who owns Manhattan Pizza.

Tolstoi says Manhattan Pizza is a well-staffed and secure bar. He also says an active police presence during late nights makes them feel even more comfortable.

"We want them to be in this area as much as possible. Just having their presence around kind of deters events like that," Tolstoi said.

"We will be out tonight as we are on all nights," Burlington Deputy Police Chief Jon Murad said.

Murad says there are no known threats here, but he says his officers will be paying extra attention to the downtown area to make people feel extra safe following the tragic bar shooting.

"We take extra precautions when we see events like this and we are definitely aware of them," Murad said. "But what the people can do is be aware, as well."

Police say the best way to protect yourself wherever you are is to be aware of your surroundings and have an exit strategy so you can get out at a moment's notice.