The NYPD has a handy guide in conjunction with the New York Nightlife Association created to help club owners and bartenders and party goers be as safe as possible and prevent illegal activities. The guide was just updated for 2011, and it includes some good things to know — for instance, new sections on preventing sexual assaults (employees are advised to watch out for overly aggressive/seductive customers and to call cabs for people who seem vulnerable, among other things), as well as on “dealing with promoters,” recognizing drunks, and counterterrorism best practices.
According to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, “We have included a substantial discussion of Counterterrorism Best Practices for the nightlife industry, not to create alarm but to help owners and operators craft effective strategies for terrorism prevention and preparedness.”
We know how to recognize a drunk, but what of these counterterrorism guidelines? Nightclubs have been attacked by terrorists in London, Bali, and other locations, and there’s no reason to suspect that terrorists wouldn’t find them attractive options here — so, what should we look out for? Among the possibly suspicious characters and characteristics the handbook identifies:
There are many factors which may create suspicion of this activity: inappropriate clothing for the season, time, place or circumstance; protrusions from the clothing; concealment of the hands; visible wires or tape; two or more people communicating and trying not to be observed; a suspect whose presence or behavior is inconsistent with the time or place; individuals who are obviously disguised; individuals with obvious signs of extreme stress or nervousness, such as bulging veins in the neck, profuse sweating, shaking hands, touching the face continuously, involuntary motions, apathy, distant stare or unfocused gazing, feeling the body continuously; and individuals whose speech includes stuttering, mumbling or chanting, or are hesitant or unresponsive.
Suspicious luggage or packages on an individual should also be noted. Indicia include: individuals holding luggage which is incompatible with the surroundings; holding a bag very close to the body or not releasing it when appropriate; weight of bag is obviously great; identical bags carried by several individuals; and bags with obvious irregularities.
All of this is good advice. If you see a sweaty guy with bulging neck veins gripping with his shaking hands a not very stylish suitcase is a very stylish bar while also staring distantly and feeling his body continuously, and sometimes muttering, you should get away as quickly as possible, regardless of what he might be plotting. And report it to the terrorism hotline, at 1-888-NYC-SAFE — you can tell your friends, too.