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State joins city in bar crackdown
Rochester, N.Y. --- The New York State Division of Alcohol Beverage Control (State Liquor Authority) joined the City of Rochester in an effort to close down two East End nightclubs that became crime scenes last weekend.
A shooting incident outside of Captain's Attic and a stabbing inside Magic City were the latest events to raise concerns about each business.
The City of Rochester took legal action to shutdown Captain's Attic this week. The State Liquor Authority board held an emergency meeting on Friday and voted to suspend the owner's liquor license.
At that meeting the board was informed that Rochester Police report 248 calls to Captain's Attic since it opened in May 2013. Many of those calls were for violent assaults, shootings, intoxicated persons and overcrowding. The Liquor Authority also considered statements provided to Rochester police by security staff at Captain's Attic where they described cuts to security staff personnel in an effort to save money and steps taken to ignore maximum capacity requirements.
13WHAM News has been unable to reach the owner of Captain's Attic for comment.
The owner of another bar on the city's radar, Magic City, met with Mayor Lovely Warren on Friday.
"We of course asked Magic City to consider closing down voluntarily and they wanted a couple of days to think about that and so they'll get back to us on Monday about that," said Mayor Warren after that meeting. "If Magic City decides that they will accept our offer that we will work with them as well as the neighborhood association to try to develop a model that could possibly be successful. But of course it's if they agree to that."
The owner of Magic City spoke briefly to 13WHAM News and indicated that he was not asked to shutdown and other things were discussed in the meeting. He then hung up the phone before an explanation or clarification to that claim could be explained.
Mayor Warren said that the city hopes to consider applying a "nuisance points system" in the East End that is showing benefits in the Southwest section of the city. She also said that a "mentor program" could be established that would allow successful bar owners to assist and consult with other establishments that are experiencing safety and security concerns.
"The security, your plan for bringing people in, how are you checking them when they come in the door?" Mayor Warren said of some of the things the mentor program could include. "How many people do you have on staff? How many people are doing the security? Are you outside checking the per emitter? Those types of things that you may not automatically think about."
"When you're in the bar business everyday you take risks, of course, but you take calculated risks," said Ron Pellegrino, the owner of two East End bars who hopes these issues can be resolved. "You do your best to make sure that first and foremost your employees are safe, the patrons in the establishment are safe, and everybody in the community around you."