Volume 92, Issue 62

Tuesday, January 19, 1999


Editorial Board 1998-99

Proactive safety

Editorial Cartoon

Proactive safety

The two stabbings which took place outside of Ichabod's Nite Club this weekend should bring new meaning to the words "spread 'em" in the London bar scene.

The incident marks the ninth time London citizens have been victims of knife attacks since the beginning of the new year. If Londoners are not careful, these statistics could quickly multiply and create a downtown night life which carries the threat of serious injury inflicted over something as trivial as catching a cab.

Such a scenario would be detrimental to both students and bar owners. The flock of students inhabiting bars would be vulnerable to anyone who chooses to carry a weapon, especially after consuming alcohol. If the threat becomes out of control, bar owners may experience a drop in business due to safety concerns.

In the past, some bars have adopted the use of hand held metal detectors to identify patrons carrying weapons. These practices have been somewhat erratic and inconsistent, usually appearing after an incident occurred to re-establish a sense of confidence in bar-goers. However, the theory behind the procedure is one worth considering for a long-term solution.

The idea of having to assume the "search" position of hands and feet spread apart, while a bouncer either frisks you or operates a metal detector isn't entirely appealing. Such high levels of security will slow line-ups and create an unsettling picture of the downtown scene.

However, this is a situation which concerns the safety of the public. Minor inconveniences such as time constraints and appearances are heavily outweighed when the overall effect of such a practice is considered.

By using metal detectors at bars, the patrons will be assured they are entering an establishment which holds no unnecessary threats. Bar owners will know they are operating under maximum safety – a smart move from both a legal and reputation standpoint.

This is an issue on which bar owner's should take a stand. If they could work together and decide upon what standards should warrant the use of a metal detector, it would benefit both citizens and city business. For instance, if an establishment's capacity is over a certain amount, it would make sense to utilize detectors as an extra measure of control. Perhaps London City Council could assist in subsidizing the costs.

The most recent incident of two Londoners being stabbed has provided the city with the opportunity to quickly address the situation and be proactive, instead of reactive. Seize the moment – it's time.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999