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Los Angeles

Council to Study Security at Internet Cafes

January 08, 2003|Patrick McGreevy | Times Staff Writer

At the urging of Councilman Dennis Zine on Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council will consider imposing new security regulations to curb violence at Internet cafes.

The Los Angeles Police Department study, to be presented to the council in 30 days, is in response to a shooting last week at a Northridge Internet cafe.

A teenage boy was shot in the leg and another was hit in the head with a chair during a melee Dec. 30 outside the NetStreet Internet Cafe, which was sponsoring a computer-game tournament with a $300 prize.

In July, a 19-year-old Winnetka man was killed in a drive-by shooting as he walked home from the NetStreet cafe.

"Last week's shooting at a cyber cafe in the San Fernando Valley should serve as a wake-up call for the city," Zine said. "These incidents cause us to consider whether to impose regulations on these businesses that tend to specialize in realistic and often violent online video games via the Internet."

Zine said the city restricts alcohol and cigarette sales to young people and may need to consider imposing similar rules on minors playing violent online computer games in public places. He also said Internet cafes may be required to hire security guards.

Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Diamond Bar have already approved security rules for such businesses, the councilman said.

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