PVD City Councilors meet with club owners to try and reduce nightlife violence

By: Ellie Romano

Email: ERomano@ABC6.com

Twitter: @ERomanoABC6

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – City councilors in Providence met with club owners on Thursday night to try and figure out how to make nightlife in the city less violent.

This comes after a string of violent incidents, all involving nightclubs. In June, a man was brutally beaten and stabbed to death after leaving Club Seven. That club has since been shut down. 

In one weekend in August, a man was stabbed in the parking lot of the Rooftop at Providence G, three other men were stabbed outside Noah Lounge, and shots rang out at Flow nightclub.

Noah Lounge was involved in another incident in September when a 19-year-old woman was shot and killed while leaving the club.

The most recent tragedy happened in October when a person was stabbed to death at Nara Hookah Lounge

Following the string of stabbings and shootings, the City Council President Sabina Matos proposed three new ordinances that would hopefully reduce violence at nightclubs.

The first would ban any new 2:00 a.m. liquor licenses near residential neighborhoods. The second would require nightclubs to have surveillance cameras inside and outside near the entrance and exit. The third would create stronger and definitive penalties for violators. 

“We have to make sure that we have a nightlife that is attractive and that people want to come to the city,” said Matos.

A handful of club and bar owners attended the Committee on Public Safety meeting. 

An attorney representing a majority of the clubs in attendance said the string of violence is not the club owners’ faults, but the bar patrons’. 

“In 90% of these cases, they are random acts of violence perpetrated by criminals. Many times these businesses are the victims of the behavior of those people,” said attorney Nick Hemond.

He said his clients want to work with the city to clean up the violence. He supports the ordinances banning new liquor licenses and requiring more security cameras. 

“I find video surveillance helps my clients more than it hurts them because it’s the only objective account of what happened,” said Hemond. 

Council members are also looking at creating a guidebook club owners would have to sign to acknowledge they’ve read the city’s rules.

“Part of being a business owner is you have to responsible for knowing what the rules are,” said Matos. 

The chair of the Committee on Public Safety plans on meeting quarterly with club owners to stay updated.

There will be a public hearing at the City Council meeting on January 30th to discuss the proposed ordinances. 

©WLNE-TV/ABC 6 2020