City May Track Location of Club-Goers

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    ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN - AUGUST11: (ISRAEL OUT) Homosexuals kiss in the street after being denied entry to a nightclub August 11, 2006 in Almaty in the central Asian country of Kazakhstan. Fifteen years after the breakup of the former USSR, the millions of Muslims living between the Caspian Sea and China, who for decades found themselves repressed under Communism, are experiencing an economic and religious revival. Following the August 1991 abortive coup attempt in Moscow and the subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan declared independence on December 16, 1991. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

    A surge in nightclub violence has the San Francisco Police Department considering a plan to significantly heighten surveillance of club-goers. The city may even begin compiling permanent records on citizens' nightclub behavior, down to notes on your appearance, demeanor, and even a photograph.

    From Fisherman's Wharf to the Tenderloin, there have been a rash of high-profile shootings, and the city's Entertainment Commission is working furiously to prove that it's able to respond.

    The proposed scanning process has yet to take shape, but would probably involve the recording of attendees' drivers' licenses. That information would be shared from club to club, so if you were rude to a waitress at one bar you might be refused access to another.

    It's doubtful that the Entertainment Commission would recommend that particular system, which already exists and is marketed by a Canadian company. There's been widespread discomfort with the privacy implications. But their response to the violence is likely to be influenced by measures that have been implemented in other cities.

    Meanwhile, the SFPD is also considering a policy that would allow them to lock up shoplifters without actually charging them with anything.

    Shoplifting has become a major concern at several city shopping centers, in part because the District Attorney hasn't been aggressively prosecuting the crimes. The police would like to lock up shoplifters overnight, even though they know the cases won't be prosecuted. It's unclear just what the burden of proof would be, and whether anyone could be locked up by mistake, simply for being suspected of shoplifting without any actual evidence.