Peace of Mind advises NY Nightlife Association

Friday, December 1, 2006

NEW YORK--Peace of Mind Technologies is providing information about video surveillance to the New York Nightlife Association as the New York City Council considers legislation that would require video cameras on the outside of venues owning a cabaret license in New York City. A similar law has been proposed in Chicago.
"They've been using us as a sounding board," said Jon Ecker, POM president of the New York Nightlife Association, the lobbying body for New York's restaurants and bars. The president of the NYNA owns 360 Hospitality, and Peace of Mind secured two of his clubs, a vertical the company specializes in, along with real estate applications.
The NYNA opposes the current draft of the bill, which was last considered Oct. 18. "We're working with the council to get it revised," said Robert Bookman, counsel to the NYNA. "At the hearing, a number of concerns were raised on both sides."
Specifically, the NYNA is concerned that the proposed surveillance systems would be expensive for club owners to install. "Where Ecker was very helpful," said Bookman, "was in giving me a proposal for a system as if I was a potential client. It was not inexpensive."
Combine that with a general agreement on the council that these cameras would not stop crime, but rather help to catch the crooks, and Bookman questions the logic of the law. "If the police want to put security cameras on the streets," said Bookman, "go ahead and do it. And if they think that areas that are nightlife-concentrated are good targets for these kinds of systems, because there are a lot of people out late at night, with an inadequate amount of police, then we don't disagree ... But if you're a small cabaret operating in the Bronx for 25 years without a problem, why should you be required to put a four to six thousand dollar camera system in?"
Bookman noted that the NYNA would not have a problem with a law that mandated surveillance systems on clubs that have had repeated troubles with law-breaking at their establishments.
The Council is looking to take action on the ordinance before the end of the year, but Ecker believes this is just the beginning of public surveillance law-making in New York City.
"They're considering a law that would require all restaurants to have cameras," Ecker noted.