Vice Squad
Friday, July 02, 2004
Illegal Solicitation of Alcohol Closes Bar

In early June Vice Squad mentioned a bar in East Los Angeles where some women were arrested for "Illegal Solicitation of Alcohol." The idea was that the women would pose as customers of the bar, chat with guys, and then request that the guys buy them a drink. In reality, the bar owner and the women were working together, and they split the profits from the drink purchases. Now the bar where the alleged violations took place has had its liquor license permanently revoked. This is bad news for a bar.

Turns out (at least if my interpretation of the linked article is accurate) that the authorities were using the alleged illegal solicitation as a pretext for closing the bar, which they had targeted on the basis of public-nuisance-style complaints and drunk driving. The linked article (which is a press release from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control) describes illegal solicitation of alcohol, and then offers this amazing paragraph:
Bars and nightclubs that allow this illegal activity have a higher incidence of public drunkenness, fights, shootings, stabbings, illegal drugs and other criminal activity. Occasionally, the illegal solicitation encourages prostitution.
Do you think that Alcoholic Beverage Control actually has conducted a statistical study to determine if bars with illegal solicitation have higher levels of stabbings and illegal drugs? How many such bars would have to be in the study to have a large enough sample to test the various hypotheses? To be honest, I find myself being skeptical. They wouldn't just make that claim up, would they -- I mean, they are part of the government?

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