San Francisco, CA (April 12, 2011) – In fall 2010, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) introduced additional security protocols for venues with an occupancy of 100 persons and more in an effort to help control and minimize nighttime violence. Currently, the Entertainment Commission – with feedback and involvement from law enforcement – issues heightened conditions on problem venues to either (1) modify their business plan; and/or (2) to bolster their security protocols. These measures are taken in addition to application of the Good Neighbor Policy, noise ordinance, loitering ordinance, smoking ordinance, and additional conditions incorporated into liquor licenses issued by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
California Music and Culture Association (CMAC) shares the mission and desire of local law enforcement to increase public and patron safety in public places; however, we do feel the document as proposed would have little impact on the majority of violent crimes, which are primarily occurring in parking lots and other outdoor spaces. CMAC feels strongly that those individuals who disrupt our neighborhood fabric, and financially and physically harm the nightlife and entertainment community with their destructive behavior should be held accountable. Universally applying heightened and costly additional security measures on all venues without an authentic two-way dialogue with industry stakeholders will not be sustainable. Strong and effective security plans require complex and individualized programming. Unfortunately, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ model for all venues. Size, scope, business plan, and location are all factors that influence a well-managed venue’s security plan – and they may vary event by event.
- Areas where we agree: CMAC supports well-lit entryways to improve patron and public safety (on the condition that they are not disruptive for neighbors). We also believe that security personnel participate in the California Department of Consumer Affairs Guard Card program, that management be onsite during a Permit of Entertainment (POE) holder’s hours of operations, and that POE holders prominently post their local, state, and federal (where applicable) permits – including their legal occupancy, POE, and liquor license(s). (Access CMAC’s compliance cheat sheet here.) CMAC will continue to educate and engage venue management and staff on security and safety, and compliance with our city and industry partners.
- Areas of concern: Mandated security personnel ratios, metal detectors, and identification scanning and data storage first and foremost merit a thorough evaluation by the Office of the City Attorney. These measures are also unlikely to stop people that engage in criminal behavior in an alley or parking lot. Finally, while some of these security measures are currently in place for some venues and at some events, mandating that all venues apply the same enhanced security protocols are unnecessary (for example, at corporate events).
Good security plans require coordination between industry experts and law enforcement so that patrons and employees safety is considered once the patron leaves the venue’s security area and enters the public space – such as a parking lot or transportation embarkation points. CMAC encourages the San Francisco Entertainment Commission, SFPD, and third party experts to begin the process of collaboratively drafting a security best practices document for the Entertainment Commission through the creation of a task force comprised of two members of the Entertainment Commission, two CMAC industry/security representatives, and two member of the San Francisco Police Department. The task force’s charge would be to create a best practices document that takes into consideration existing good neighbor policies, newly proposed permit conditions, the larger question of a safe street scene, and also evaluate potential measures to hold instigators accountable.