Anti-loitering ordinance for nightclubs is watered down

Proposed legislation to prohibit loitering outside of San Francisco clubs for more than three minutes was amended Thursday to make the crime a ticket infraction, not a misdemeanor that could have carried a fine of between $50 and $500.

Police and entertainment officials say the anti-loitering law, sponsored by Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, would help reduce the violence outside of clubs that comes with large groups of intoxicated individuals.

The law would allow police to issue a citation to anyone standing within 10 feet of a club’s entrance for more than three minutes between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.

At a meeting of the Board of Supervisors’ City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee, where the amendment was made, Kevin Ryan, the director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, said there has been, “some shootings, some stabbings some actual murder incidents that occurred in and about some of the nightclubs.”

Four of The City’s 98 homicides last year were nightclub-related, and 15 percent of assaults occurred from disputes either inside or outside of nightclubs, according to statistics from the Police Department.</p>

In a one-month period there were 13 assaults, one drug offense, seven thefts, 14 acts of vandalism and seven robberies all within a one-quarter-mile radius of a club at 447 Broadway. Around a club at 181 Eddy St., there were 69 assaults, 284 drug offenses, 121 thefts, 11 acts of vandalism and 23 robberies.

Bob Davis, the executive director of The City’s Entertainment Commission, said that even though the law would reduce an initial offense to an infraction, repeat offenders still could be charged with a misdemeanor.

The law will be reheard in committee sometime in July and requires approved by the full Board of Supervisors.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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