Rated X in P.G.
It's no secret that crime is on the rise in Prince George's County. There have been 38 murders so far this year -- compared to 25 at the same time last year. On Sunday, an Oxon Hill teenager became the county's tenth homicide in as many days.
But after three people were shot in the parking lot of the popular Caribbean nightspot Crossroads on Sunday night, P.G. County Executive Jack Johnson decided to close nine P.G. nightclubs indefinitely. (A law passed last September allows the government to close any establishment that "presents an imminent danger and threat to the health, safety and welfare of the public.")
In addition to the Crossroads, the list includes the Tradewinds in Clinton and the Classics in Camp Springs, both known for hosting go-go shows by the likes of Chuck Brown, Rare Essence and Familiar Faces; the Millennium, Cuzco Restaurant and the Tick Tock Restaurant and Bar in Hyattsville; Le Pearl in Capitol Heights; and the CFE entertainment center and Knights of Columbus Hall, both in Forrestville.
(University of Maryland students should rest assured that the Tick Tock liquor store, which is attached to the restaurant, will remain open for late-night beer runs.)
The P.G. Police insist that they're not picking on inside-the-Beltway clubs that play go-go music, but that all the clubs are plagued with fights, assaults, carjackings and even homicides.
At the Tradewinds, Roger Banks, Jr., was killed in the parking lot last April, and David Sloley was killed near the club on March 21. Brian Bell was killed in the parking lot of La Perla (formerly known as the Mad Chef Cafe) on St. Patrick's Day. Terrell Haigler was killed outside the Knights of Columbus -- a popular spot for go-go concerts -- last April. And when police found the body of Jose R. Del Cid-Cruz in December, he had an entry stamp from Cuzco on his hand.
More than these homicides, though, Johnson said that the clubs being closed collected a large number of emergency calls from patron and neighbors. The three Hyattsville clubs alone accounted for more than 1,000 calls to police in 2006, he said, using valuable time and resources. Between 20 to 30 officers were regularly assigned to keep the peace at some of these clubs -- and sometimes up to 50 were needed.
The Crossroads has reggae stars Barrington Levy and Richie Spice scheduled to appear in April. There's no word yet on whether those concerts will be rescheduled or moved.
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