Law enforcement officials discuss curtailing nightclub violence

Strong security needed to curtail nightclub crime

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - “Guns and alcohol do not mix at all.”

Those are the words of Ridgeland Police Chief John Neal, and it’s something we’ve seen over and over again in recent years: Nightclub or bar shootings around the state: Places like Yazoo County, Jackson, Port Gibson, Brookhaven, and others.

Captain Tyree Jones of the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department says sometimes there’s very little a business owner can do to prevent violence from breaking out, but sometimes there are measures that can be taken to minimize the risk.

“Some of the crime that comes as a result of nightclubs, it’s lack of conflict resolution before it gets to the nightclub,” Jones said. “The two parties happen to see each other at whatever the venue is, and therefore that’s where it plays out.”

It can be a number of things, officials said. Sometimes it’s a previous beef, but it can also be just the combination of alcohol and heightened emotions.

“That perfect storm is when you get to the late night hours and you have young people out there who already think that they’re bulletproof and that they can handle as much alcohol as they want to drink,” said Neal.

That’s why a qualified security team is imperative, officials said. Sometimes club owners look to police to handle their issues, but there needs to be enforcement inside and outside the club.

“You know we can talk all day about police involvement and everything,” Jones said. “But... it comes down to the security of your business and the type of security that you have and making sure that you have an adequate amount of security.”

“And we hope that they’re trained in recognizing what something under concealment of clothing would look like if they try to come in through the door, some kind of bulge in a pocket or on the hip or waistband that doesn’t look like a cell phone,” Neal said.

Some security business owners in the metro area said they don’t do club security because the liability is too high, but the dynamic is different around the state. Chief Macon Moore says in Southaven, most of the bars have private security, and it’s needed when seconds count.

“Most of the time by the time we get called or get on scene, you know most anywhere you go the average response time is 3-5 minutes, and that’s a pretty quick response time,” said Moore. “But a lot can happen in that time.”

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