San Diego: Hillcrest business owners ask for more police patrols, increased security in gay area

Posted at 1:27 PM, Jun 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-12 23:41:05-04

Business owners in Hillcrest on Sunday called for increased security and police patrols in their neighborhood in light of the shooting massacre at a gay nightclub in Florida and said they plan to meet with San Diego police officials in the next few days.

"For decades, nightclubs are a place where LGBT people have come and they feel safe and they can be who they are, and so this attack at a nightclub strikes at the heart of that," said Benjamin Nicholls, executive director of the Hillcrest Business Association. "So we want to make sure that our nightclubs are still safe."

The bouncers and security guards already have a collaboration with police when it comes to nightclub security in Hillcrest, according to Nicholls, but they want to make sure they are doing everything they can to protect patrons.

"What are the best practices for security at these nightclubs in light of this new environment?" Nicholls asked. "What can the nightclubs learn from the police department?"

He said the Hillcrest Business Association was in contact with a representative from Councilman Todd Gloria's office about security issues, as Hillcrest is in Gloria's district.

With Pride Weekend coming up in July and the huge Gay Pride Parade, there's even more cause for concern, according to Nicholls.

"Just like everybody in Hillcrest this morning and throughout the country, I think this is a horrible way to wake up and to learn about how terror and these kinds of ridiculous gun incidents continue to tear apart our community," Nicholls said of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

"It's horrible, it's a horrible tragedy and I know that everybody in Hillcrest and certainly San Diegans are standing with the community on Florida in solidarity."