If you have ever been around the Theater District when the clubs let out, you know it can be pretty crazy. Thousands of people pour onto the streets, and since by 2:00 am the T has already gone to bed, everyone is left to walk home or try and find a cab.

This has been the setting for numerous violent altercations, including stabbings, shootings, fights, brawls, and general mayhem. This violence needs to end, and this has been made all the more clear by the recent death of Stephen Perez, Jr. who had recently returned from serving with the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perez was shot and killed last Saturday night in the Theater District after leaving one of the nightclubs in the area. Obviously this violence is a problem that needs to be addressed, and City Hall is already addressing the problem.

Their solution? Make the clubs close at midnight instead of 2:00 am.

Really?

This would let patrons of the clubs hop on the T, yeah, but it’s still going to be a mess when everyone leaves. And now, instead of getting kicked out at 2:00 am, people will be booted 2 hours earlier. Crime doesn’t only happen at 2:00 am.

A compilation of crime rates from major cities by hour of the day.

What’s so frustrating about this idea of having the clubs close earlier is that it’s a punitive measure, designed to punish the owners of the clubs when they are not the ones ultimately responsible for what happens outside of their clubs after closing time. There are bigger issues that need to be addressed, and instead they are being ignored.

Part of the reason these clubs are all so packed with people is that there are so few of them. If the city made it a little easier for people to start other clubs, the crowds would be a little more spread out. People want to be out until 2:00 am and later, but there aren’t a lot of places in Boston where you can do that. If we let these clubs and other bars and nightspots throughout the city stay open past 2:00 am, the crowds would be thinned out even more.

We applaud City Hall for actively trying to solve this problem, but we are disappointed that their solution looks like it’s going to take the form of a punitive action against the clubs themselves. Can these institutions do more to try and keep things calm when they close? Maybe, but the problem is bigger than that. The huge crowds offer anonymity for individuals looking to get away with something, even if they weren’t at the club themselves.

Boston needs to move forward, and this proposed solution would be a step back. Forcing thousands of people onto the streets two hours earlier than normal and way earlier than they want to leave the bar or club isn’t the solution we need. We need our civic leaders to work to address this violence at its roots.

We need to take an honest look at what the real driving forces are behind the violence that always seems to accompany closing time around the clubs in the theater district and then work to address it, not automatically assume it’s because they are open until 2:00 am.

Last time we checked, guns are just as deadly at midnight as they are at 2:00 am.

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About Future Boston Alliance

Future Boston Alliance is a non-profit organization seeking to revolutionize our city's creative economy. By advocating for new talent and businesses and holding educational events, we aim to make Boston a hub for collaboration, innovation, and culture.

15 responses »

  1. Sean says:

    I love the idea that Providence did starting a little while back. With last call staying at 1:45 but the clubs could stay open til 3 playing music and such. This way people would slowly leave the club between last call and when they place actually shut down lessening the giant crowd. I am going to guess it may have not worked out because there was a huge fight at one of the clubs on Easter. But put into practice in a place that isn’t Providence it may actually work.

  2. This is infuriating. I would love to hear City Hall’s logic around why shutting down Boston’s nightlife earlier than any other major city in the United States of America is going to solve the problem of street violence! If you take away the (relatively) safe and REGULATED outlets for people to go out and have a good time, they are going to run amok in the streets!

  3. I personally don’t take part in nightlife, and I don’t agree that the solution to violence is more, rather than fewer, venues which sell alcohol and play loud music. However, I take your point about everyone leaving the bars and clubs at the same time. I think we should put together a rotating schedule wherein different bars and clubs close at different times, eliminating the issue.

  4. Prettyflowerpartygirl, you are nuts. Boston needs more bars/clubs in order to scatter the crowd over a larger area, getting rid of the crowd density which incites violence! Did you read the article?? Anyway, your rotating schedule idea would never work, the bars that get popular fridays and saturdays would never agree to rotate over to wednesdays, the profits just aren’t that good.

  5. I promise you, gingerravenger, I am completely sane, and I think my schedule could work if the bar owners realize that they will all get their turns to stay open late on the better nights and the worse nights. Profit isn’t everything! They should want to end the violence which is scaring, and even killing their customer base!

  6. mulroney says:

    I feel very strongly about this issue! Boston should have more bars and clubs anyway as a world-class city, and if spreading out the 2am crowd reduces the violence, all the better! Separately, it is a bit silly that bars here close at 2. I can find an open bar at any hour in New York!

  7. […] city limits? It was really immature how you handled that. Also, you keep wanting to go to bed earlier and earlier. What’s up with that? The rest of the world stays up late, […]

  8. Chandler says:

    What specifically did “City Hall” say the solution is…what are the specifics of which businesses would need to close early, and for how long? Which office in “City Hall” came up with this response…will it be implemented, or is it just an idea? Is “City Hall” working on any other ways to address this problem?

    Also, it’s the state of massachusetts that regulates liquor licenses.

    I totally get why gingerravenger is infuriated. But I wish the blog posting had more details regarding the questions I mention above.

  9. Clearly the licensing board needs to make it easier to get a liquor license and make it possible for some clubs to be open later.

  10. tessawilla says:

    hhaha I remember going to those clubs. It’s always a shitshow when the clubs let out. I don’t think the time has much to do with it. The main problem is that there’s just too many drunk people in the same area at once.

  11. Kendrick Reynolds says:

    One might also consider not going to a club with thug types.

    Or avoiding a nightclub that late/early in the day.

    But these concepts don’t allow for self control. Better to blame a city that the self.

    Gosh you people hate to be responsible for yourselves!

  12. Marcus Viscidi says:

    The city of Boston needs options. Chicago has places that are open until 2 and places that are open until 4 am. People have access to transportation 24 hours a day and cab drivers do not scoff at the idea of picking someone up at the end of the night. It is the cities, the clubs and the people’s responsibilities to ensure safe fun.

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