The 109th's commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Matthew Whelan, said assaults were up more than 20 percent last year at 252 reported incidents. He pointed out that 53 of the reported assaults, or about 21 percent, occurred in bars or nightclubs within the area."Part of what we wanted to do is improve or build our relationships with bars and nightclubs in the precinct," Whelan said. Whelan said the precinct specifically invited owners from bars and nightclubs that have been a problem in the last year. He said the precinct called the meeting to go over proper practices in dealing with a violent incident in the owners' establishments and also to discuss possible improvements to security, such as metal detectors or cameras, that could deter illegal activity from occurring. "If they do what's expected of them, they're not going to have any of these instances," Whelan said.Whelan said he will probably hold the meetings quarterly as a means of both keeping the precinct informed of potential problems or patterns arising at area bars or nightclubs as well as enabling the bar and club owners to keep abreast of changing police policies. Whelan also said that should assaults in bars continue to be a problem in the coming months, the precinct will work with the State Liquor Authority through the Nuisance Abatement Program, which allows the two agencies to compile evidence against a particular establishment and close it if deemed necessary. Whelan said the 109th Precinct has submitted six establishments within their boundaries for closure during the last year. Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@
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