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According to their study, security officers AKA bouncers are high on the list of risk and liability and often are subjected to assaults, weapons and gang activity.
A metropolitan nightclub in New York City, Birmingham Alabama or Atlanta Georgia may see as many as three or four assaults on staff each night and are often confronted with armed patrons.
While some nightclubs in the higher end arena of clubs use metal detectors and security personnel pat down and frisk those who enter, those businesses were found to be in the minority and most do not.
Shootings, stabbings, felonious assaults, drug violations and murders are commonplace across our country’s nightlife. As these violent acts unfold, the clubs security staffs that are mainly untrained and unarmed are caught in the middle as they try to defend their employer and the club patron. Many bouncers and uniform security personnel find themselves in physical confrontations on a weekly basis while others become murder victims when unruly intoxicated ejected clubbers return armed with guns and take their revenge out on the security staff.
Most incidents are so common that they go unreported to police making it difficult to track the actual numbers of assaults and disturbances at one location.
In 2006, a nightclub in Nashville Tennessee had more than three hundred calls for police service in a one year period. most of those calls were for gunshots, fights and assaults. The owners, who tried beefing up security, could not control the type of people who flocked to their establishment and eventually the city used a civil nuisance law to padlock their door and force them to close down.
Other clubs in Nashville and other cities have come under similar scrutiny after repeated criminal activity, shootings or murders.
But closing these businesses down isn’t as effective as one might think. After the doors are padlock and the civil proceedings have concluded, the nightclub soon becomes reborn under a different name either at the same location or somewhere across town and the whole cycle begins again.
Several such establishments in Charlotte North Carolina on a busy stretch of Independence Blvd. have been shut down but soon popped up under different names and different management but owned by the same people who had ran the previous troubled businesses. Police there find themselves responding to the same locations every week end on the same type of calls. In mid March after a disturbance inside a club spilled into the parking lot, several customers exchanged several rounds of gunfire until security armed with shotguns joined in firing off their own weapons and ending the gun battle. Neighbors say that this is an every week end thing and that and police have not been able to control the shootings, the drug activity or the other criminal activity at these clubs.
Over the July 4th week-end we followed nine murders at clubs across the country. In Birmingham Alabama, police say that a sixteen year old shot and killed two young and that two others were wounded in a shooting outside a Birmingham night club. The shooting happened between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. outside of Banana Joe’s, at 1022 20th Street South, in the rear parking lot. Birmingham police say 20-year-old Willie Daniels of Birmingham and 20-year-old Jason Showers of Birmingham were killed by gunfire. Two other men, ages 19 and 20 were wounded. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening.
A 16-year-old male suspect wounded during the shooting and is now under arrest for murder.
Police say several off-duty officers were working security, along with an on-duty officer, who was assisting with crowd control, at the club when they heard gunshots coming from the rear parking lot. The officers went to the area and reportedly observed a male suspect firing a handgun.
Birmingham police preliminary investigation says the suspect was thrown out of the club by security officers for fighting. While outside the club, police say the suspect saw the people he’d been fighting with. Police say the suspect and several other males confronted them, a fight began and shots were fired.
Police say three assault rifles and a semi-automatic pistol were seized. Police aren’t sure what the underage teen was doing in the club to begin with.
A murder outside a nightclub is the final straw for a Middletown Ohio councilman. Tony Marconi wants the Grand Illusion Bar shut down. Marconi says Middletown Police make several runs to the bar each week.
Residents say the bar draws a rough crowd and there’s not enough security. Early Friday morning, Spencer Davis, 26, was murdered and a woman was shot outside Grand Illusion. And last fall, a fight started at the nightclub, leading to a nearby shootout.
Some police departments will not allow their officers to work off-duty nightclub security because they know the dangers of mixing alcohol and weapons. Contract security agencies in many states also will not take a contract at a nightclub where there has been a high number of incidents because of liability and because their liability insurance carriers could drop them if they knowingly place themselves in a high risk, high liability contract.
Club security in the entertainment district of Portland Oregon often find themselves in the mix of fights and threats said Larry Carson, a private contract security officer. It doesn’t take long for things to heat up when the house is full and the drinks are flowing Carson said. Most of the downtown clubs do a good job at crowd control and running interference between club patrons and troublemakers a Portland officer said. Still, we get calls to problems at certain bars almost every Friday and Saturday night the officer said.
Mike Matthews, Senior Vice President of The National Association of Private Officers and former police captain said that it’s a problem that won’t go away until states require the clubs to have mandatory security officer training and city code enforcement, fire marshal’s and police work together to keep closer tabs on the problem establishments and close them down as soon as there is repeat signs of serious trouble at them.
In the meantime, while many patrons are having a good time drinking, laughing and socializing, the clubs security staff will continue to be the buffer and many times the recipient of the assaults, threats and violence that can occur at any location at any time.
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