Monday, August 11, 2014

Think early closing for private clubs would depress crime? Try this

Posted By on Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 6:53 AM

A squabble in the morning paper about police calls in Jonesboro following passage of a 2 a.m. closing law for private clubs — up? down? who can say? — generated some heat but not much light. More grist for the "lies, damn lies and statistics" discussion.

It's a wonder there's any crime at all in Jonesboro because, after all,  alcohol sales are not legal there EXCEPT in private clubs. Presumably, if the private clubs were closed altogether, Jonesboro would be crime free.

Which brings me, again, to the point: Focusing on a 3-hour window of business for nine legitimate enterprises as a public safety strategy is folly.

You want to save some police calls, require a 9 p.m. closing hour in the River Market. Require convenience store closing at midnight. Prevent Waffle Houses from staying open all night. Require Walmarts to hire more private security 24/7 to reduce the huge demand they create on police time.

I'm reminded it was early evening when a Little Rock police officer beat the living bejesus out of a Hillcrest restaurant customer for the crime of not moving along promptly enough. Maybe we need a 5 p.m. closing in Hillcrest. City Director Gene Fortson, after all, seems ready to propose an early closing law because bad things happen from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. Why stop there?

A 2 a.m. closing remains more about the cultural and moral outlooks of the old-timers who sit on the City Board.

It is also about government in secret. As of this weekend, no documents were on file relative to this debate, set for discussion at 4 p.m. Tuesday. One director wants a 2 a.m. closing; a proposal has been floated to require more private security at clubs; Gene Fortson and Brad Cazort reportedly plan to release a report at the meeting. Will relevant documents magically become available at the stroke of 4 p.m. Tuesday, without any advance notice to the interested public? It has happened before in Director Joan Adcock's ongoing jihad against shift workers and others who are awake when others sleep.

PS — The city board, if it was really serious about crime, might do some thinking about the number of times cops are called out when related parties fire guns at one another.

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