A gathering of The City’s top police officials and dozens of bar and club owners in a packed conference room Wednesday was meant to bring a wide spectrum of people together to address a growing trend of violence outside nightspots.
But it also came with a stern warning.
“In the coming months, there will be increased inspection,” Officer Fred Crisp of Central Station told the crowd, with support from Chief Heather Fong and Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Director Kevin Ryan.
Dozens of violent episodes in and out of San Francisco nightclubs were reported in 2007 alone, and many more have likely gone unnoticed. At least five of The City’s homicides last year took place outside nightspots, and many people have survived shootings, stabbings and fights.
Two of the six homicides The City has already seen in 2008 are attributed to conditions outside nightspots. On New Year’s Day, 26-year-old Marcus Peppars was killed after leaving a warehouse party near Ninth and Folsom streets and, less than a week later, Clarence Corbin, 34, was killed when he tried to break up a fight outside a Mission Bay club.
Bar owners, security guards and promoters said at Wednesday’s summit that a lot of the violence is not their fault. They also said that certain neighborhoods tend to generate more trouble, such as robberies, break-ins and aggressive panhandling.
Denise and Eddie Mendoza, whose son Justin “Boo Boo” Mendoza died after taking a stray bullet in the chest in 2005 after a fight outside Club Cocomo, said Wednesday that club management should also do their part to take care of disputes just outside their business doors.
“We don’t want any parents to have to go through this again,” Denise Mendoza said.
One of the things police are looking out for is whether bar and club management are actually calling police when a fight or dispute breaks out.
Brit Hahn, owner of SoMa club City Nights, said the line between when a minor fight turns into a major one is thin. He said many are concerned with having a “black mark” on their record. But Crisp told the crowd that even minor skirmishes are enough to illicit a phone call to the police.