Goodnight Mr. Lewis: Orlando Shooting Highlights NYC Nightlife’s Need for Paid Details

For years, the threat has lived in the backs of many nightlife operators’ minds. After terrorist attacks in Paddy’s Pub, Bali (2002), Stage Club, Tel Aviv (2005) and, of course, the Bataclan in Paris as part of a multi-target attack, operators around the world have been helplessly waiting, but hoping against Orlando. The world reels from soft target attacks on theaters, cafés and restaurants. Nightclubs are also “soft targets,” but at least in NYC don’t have to be that soft. There are easy solutions to ensure that clubgoers party in relative safety.

Former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly abandoned us on the pretext of fear of corruption, therefore leaving NYC’s club scene helpless. Many in nightlife have called for the Police Department’s “Paid Detail” to be available for clubs—a program where uniformed NYC cops can be rented to protect an event or business. I’ve been detailing this need for years and, of course, don’t want to drop a Donald Trump-style “I told you so,” but I did here.

Now that Kelly’s gone, it’s time for clubs to have, at least, a couple police officers protecting patrons. A pair of cops will mean a few less security guards are necessary and it should be a wash financially. The cops will certainly deter fights, common robberies and brawls, deter phone and bag thieves and also keep noise down—especially from honking cabs.

It’s a win-win, as communities will have someone on-hand to deter patrons pissing on their doorsteps and blocking side walks. Blocks with clubs should actually become safer than most. A couple of armed cops may make a nut job think twice. The armed cops combined with prayers might prevent an Orlando from happening or limit the damage. Mayor Bill DiBlasio hasn’t scored many points in his term so far.

Let’s call on him to get this right.

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