What started as an experiment to curb early morning violence outside some downtown Providence nightclubs is now being proposed citywide for large clubs by Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Pare.
A handful of nightclubs for the past three years have been allowed to stay open an extra hour past the usual 2 a.m. closing time on weekends. The reason was to reduce the size of often rowdy crowds emptying at the same time into the downtown club district.
Pare says that effort has been a success and wants to extend the so-called “soft closing” for six months to a host of other clubs.
We say to the city Board of Licenses, don’t do it! Nothing much that happens on city streets after midnight and involving alcohol is good. Giving the green light for businesses to offer even more people a reason to be out in public not one, or two but three hours after that is courting trouble.
All it would take during the new six-month trial period is for one tragic, violent incident to occur to negate whatever crowd-control benefits Pare says have occurred so far with those select clubs.
The closing time should be uniform for everyone, including smaller clubs who would still be disadvantaged under Pare’s proposal.
And if clubs and police can’t consistently control crowds emptying into certain neighborhoods, then staggered release times could require those clubs close earlier, not later, than everyone else. •
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