Your analysis of your local problem should give you a better understanding of the factors that are contributing to the problem. Once you have analyzed your local problem and established a baseline for measuring effectiveness, you should consider possible responses to address the problem. The following response strategies provide a foundation of ideas for addressing your particular problem. These strategies are drawn from a variety of research studies and police reports. Several of these strategies may apply to your community’s particular problem. It is critical that you tailor responses to local circumstances, and that you can justify each response based on reliable analysis. In most cases, an effective strategy will involve implementing several different responses. Law enforcement responses alone are seldom effective in reducing or solving the problem. Do not limit yourself to considering what police can do: carefully consider who else in your community shares responsibility for the problem and can help police better respond to it.
† See Homel (2001) for a thorough discussion of the various types of community action projects, their core components, and their effectiveness.
†† The Derbyshire, England, Constabulary (2002) engaged local bar owners in a “Safer Pubs and Clubs” campaign whereby each owner agreed to enact a range of “Safer by…” reforms, such as Safer by Dispersal, Safer by Design, Safer by Glass Management, Safer by Doorwatch, etc. The combination of responses led to significant reductions in violence in the targeted areas and improvements in job satisfaction among staff.
† For example, several jurisdictions use self-administered checklists to examine potential problem areas (entry, layout, closing time, rule-setting, etc.). Often working with a consultant, bar owners discuss their areas of vulnerability and craft reforms to minimize risk (Graham 2000; Graham et al. 2004; Toomey et al. 2001).
†† The New Zealand Police implemented a system of informal audits, feedback, and recommendations to reduce the risk factors present in local bars and clubs. After a three-month follow-up period, the participating bars saw a 15 percent decrease in alcohol-related incidents. Despite fears that police would judge the approach lacking in severity, two-thirds of police considered the approach acceptable, and 92 percent of bar owners found the process to be both fair and useful (Wiggers et al. 2004).
Police inspections of bars and enforcement of liquor laws encourages bar owners to adhere to responsible management practices. Kip Kellogg
Some communities use nuisance-abatement laws and conditional-use permits (business permits with special requirements and restrictions) to compel bar owners to establish and enforce responsible policies and practices that can reduce aggression and violence in and around the premises.†††
† Madison, Wisconsin adopted a point system in 1986 as the basis for sanctions against liquor licensees to remove some of the arbitrariness of the administrative process, and the police department developed methods for recording and reporting police activities at bars to the liquor-licensing authority. A key feature of the system is that reports of problems by the owners/managers to the police, and cooperation with the police, reflect favorably rather than negatively on the licensee. A police representative serves as a nonvoting member of the alcohol-license review committee. By contrast, the Green Bay (Wisconsin) Police Department (2000) had to change city officials’ attitudes toward liquor-license regulation to close or improve control over problem bars.
†† In Sweden, a combination of responsible-beverage-service training and consistent liquor-law enforcement by police led to significant increases in the rate at which servers refused to serve intoxicated patrons (from 5 percent refusals to 70 percent refusals), and a significant decrease (29 percent) in the number of violent crimes occurring in or around participating bars (Wallin, Norstrom, and Andreasson 2003; Wallin, Gripenberg, and Andreasson 2005).
††† Fresno, California makes extensive use of conditional-use permits to regulate liquor establishments. Sacramento, California, prepared a Model Conditional-Use Permit Ordinance for Retail Alcohol Outlets (Wittman 1997). The Hayward (California) Police Department helped private residents file a civil lawsuit against a problem bar, ultimately resulting in the revocation of its liquor license (Sampson and Scott 2000).
You will need to combine two groups of responses in any effective strategy:
Training and encouraging bar staff to serve responsibly and monitor patrons’ drinking can help reduce the risk of violence in the bar. smartserve.org
Responsible beverage service programs include training bar staff to adopt responsible serving practices, and encouraging bar owners and managers to adopt responsible business practices and policies. The most common elements of these programs include the following:
† As of 2000, at least 23 states had server-training legislation. In 11 of these states, the laws provide incentives for establishments that provide training to their employees, while in the remaining 12 states, server training is mandatory (Mosher et al. 2002).
While it may take a long time for enforcement officials to witness bar staff serving drunken patrons, the benefits appear to be worth the costs. For the most part, it is still too easy for both drunken and underage drinkers to get served in bars. 
† Erenberg and Hacker (1997) report that 36 states have some form of dram-shop liability law, and refer to the Model Alcoholic Beverage Retail Licensee Liability Act of 1985.
Skill development programs to reduce aggression are often easier to market to bar owners than interventions focused on serving less alcohol. The programs are most effective when focused on portable skills using real-world scenarios, drawing on participants’ experience. The following particular techniques can defuse aggressive incidents:
A number of communities require security staff to be trained, licensed, and registered, a measure several researchers endorse. , † The United Kingdom uses “door staff registration schemes” extensively, requiring all door staff at bars to be trained and vetted.†† The many local variances in policy can be frustrating to those wishing to work in multiple jurisdictions. These schemes are most effective when staff receive individually numbered badges; registering agencies maintain a comprehensive name, photograph, and address register; and bars keep premise-specific staff assignment logs.
† The San Diego (California) Police Department’s In-House Security Training Program offers training courses for instructors from local venues who, once endorsed, teach and certify in-house security personnel. The program includes an evaluation component to determine reductions in the numbers of complaints, disturbances, violent incidents, and drug use; the quality of training content, delivery, and materials; and whether the program contributes to the ability to identify problematic security personnel (San Diego Police Department Vice Unit n.d.).
†† The United Kingdom’s Private Security Act 2001 requires all private-sector security staff to obtain an occupational license before working in the industry. This act supersedes all local door-staff registration schemes (Hobbs et al. 2003).
† Increasing the availability of taxis and buses to patrons leaving nightclubs in Douglas, Isle of Man was an important dimension of a larger successful strategy to reduce violence and disorder around bars ( Isle of Man Constabulary 2005).
† The United Kingdom’s Licensing Act 2003 eliminated mandatory pub closing hours. The new liquor-licensing legislation gave police more authority to close rowdy pubs, allowed for lengthy bans of troublemakers and habitual drunkards from pubs, and allowed local authorities to impose environmental conditions on liquor licenses. Several organizations had strong concerns about the legislation (Civic Trust and the Institute of Alcohol Studies 2002; Roberts et al. 2002; McNeill 2005). To date, the relaxed closing hours’ impact on the assault and disorder rates has not been evaluated.
†† A Grand Rapids, Iowa proposal would allow bars to stay open later, although they would still be required to stop serving alcohol at the usual time. The purpose of these extended hours would be to allow customers to “cool down and sober up” before leaving the bar (Ronco and Quisenberry 2005). In Australia, a group of local bars agreed to a “patron lockout” to reduce barhopping. Although bars remained open until 3 or 5 a.m., customers were not allowed to enter or reenter bars after 2 a.m. (University of Ballarat Center for Health Research and Practice 2004).
Occupancy limits should be enforced so that bar patrons do not feel crowded. Kip Kellogg
† The Merseyside Police (2001) in England coordinated a plan that promoted the use of toughened glass containers, added litter containers outside bars, and had bar staff and police discourage patrons from taking glass containers out of bars in downtown Liverpool. Serious assaults involving glass injuries in and around bars in the target area declined significantly. The police subsequently convinced the city council to authorize police to confiscate glass containers outside bars. The city of Savannah, Georgia allows patrons to take alcoholic beverages out of bars in the entertainment district, but requires that they be in plastic cups. Patrons use the so-called “to-go cups” extensively.
† The city of Portland, Oregon explained the procedures for banning troublemakers from liquor establishments in a guidebook for liquor establishment owners and managers (Campbell Resources Inc. 1991). The Madison (Wisconsin) Police Department uses what it calls an “Unruly Patron Complaint.” They remove unruly customers from bars and serve them a form telling them they are banned from entering the bar again due to their behavior. They file a report and give the bar a copy of the complaint, with the offender’s name and information, and a case number. Should the patron return to the bar, the bar staff calls the police, who arrest the patron for trespassing. Madison police have found this tactic especially helpful in bars with a regular clientele who fear losing the privilege of going there. This tactic is also a common feature of “PubWatch” schemes in the United Kingdom (Pratten and Greig 2005).
†† The Arlington (Texas) Police Department (1997) helped one especially problematic bar develop a computer database to record all people ejected from or arrested at the bar, and to make this information available to door security staff.
† One sensible response related to police enforcement is to pass legislation making public fighting an offense, as was done at the recommendation of the Edmonton (Alberta) Police in 1999. This allows police to arrest offenders even when they cannot establish the elements of assault and battery.
† The North American Partnership for Responsible Hospitality and the National Licensed Beverage Association set standards for responsible beverage service, even though they have little direct influence over individual licensed premises. Sources of U.S. alcohol industry advertising codes include the Beer Institute, the Wine Institute, and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. State and local laws, newspaper advertising policies, and college campus advertising policies may also govern alcohol marketing.
†† Barrow, Alaska, an isolated Arctic community, experienced dramatic decreases in alcohol-related assaults, as well as many other alcohol-related problems, when it banned the sale, possession, and consumption of alcohol (Sampson and Scott 2000). Some cities, such as Chicago, Illinois, have provisions allowing residents to vote to prohibit alcohol sales in specific areas—in effect, to create dry zones within the larger community.
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