One thing you can say about this Greensboro city council is that they are responsive to feedback. In government that’s often a good thing.
Take the club security debate going on in the city since a spate of random violence in the middle of South Elm Street set the city on edge in November. At first the city rolled out an ill-conceived plan to regulate 28 nightclubs because, the argument went, the shooting that precipitated the outcry stemmed from patrons leaving separate nightclubs downtown.
Club owners felt this was unfair, and rightly so. Gun violence, robberies and assaults take place on Greensboro streets everyday. In fact, since January 2013 there have been 206 incidents of serious violence, defined as homicides or aggravated assaults, that took place on public roadways. Another 146 violent incidents went down in public parking lots.
To be sure, 49 incidents occurred in the category “bars/nightclubs/ lounges” but that’s a broad category. Still, it could be argued that nightclubs are safer than the average Greensboro street or parking lot according to the data alone.
In fact, 29 incidents of violence went down in alleyways, 10 of those involving handguns. For comparison sake, six of the 49 violent incidents in “bars/ nightclubs/lounges” involved handguns. That’s 34 percent involving guns in alleys and 12 percent in bars and clubs. City wide, 29 percent of the incidents in public streets and 33 percent in parking lots involved handguns.
Where are you safer? Semantics, we admit, but so too was the definition under which establishments would be subjected to the city’s new club security ordinance.
The city council meets again today to consider revisions. It appears as if logic will prevail. The agenda has proposals to subject bars and restaurants that operate after midnight to the ordinance. Other proposals could reduce the compliance period to 18 months and move up the ceiling at which clubs are required to have armed security to 300 occupants. !
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