Stamps could mark the nightspot

Besides the boozy eyes late-night revelers have when they exit Broadway Street clubs and bars, they also may soon leave with distinctive handstamps to help police track where they have been.

The recommendation is the latest move by The City to crack down on crime in the popular North Beach corridor, which has long been a spot in which the good times of an evening can turn violent when customers have had too much to drink.

In a one-month period last year, 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.

To combat this type of criminal behavior, Capt. James Dudley of the Central Station in North Beach said he plans to ask The City’s Entertainment Commission to consider making mandatory handstamps specific to a bar or club so police can more easily make connections between specific locations and drunken behavior. The information could be taken to The City or the state Alcoholic Beverage Control agency, Dudley said.

“It’s not to get anybody in trouble, but it would be helpful to be able to track people,” Dudley said. “If all the drunks we keep arresting show up with the same stamp, maybe there’s a place that’s overserving,” he said.

The Police Department, surrounding community and city officials have taken measures, such as prohibiting vehicles from stopping on the street from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., to try and cut down on behavior associated with illegal activity.

Businesses in the district along the Broadway corridor also will soon vote on creating a business-improvement district, which would require businesses to pay a tax to help fund police efforts in the area.

Additionally, Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Sophie Maxwell introduced an anti-loitering law that would prohibit clubgoers from loitering outside of San Francisco clubs for more than three minutes. It is under review by the Board of Supervisors.

Four of The City’s 98 homicides in 2007 were nightclub-related, and 15 percent of assaults occurred from disputes either inside or outside of nightclubs, according to the Police Department.

Bob Davis, executive director of the Entertainment Commission, said the commission would work with Dudley on the matter.

“It seems like it would be a reasonable suggestion,” he said.

Club owners interviewed by The Examiner expressed skepticism about the idea, saying a standard stamp that is used every night by a bar could be copied, allowing customers to enter for free or underage drinkers to enter.

dsmith@sfexaminer.com

Troubled watering holes

Friday and Saturday arrest totals along Broadway, since May 23.

Misdemeanors 10

Drunk-related 12

Felonies 0

Source: SFPD

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