L.A. Imposes Regulations on Cybercafes

Tuesday, August 24th 2004, 10:56 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A new city law designed to prevent violence at cybercafes quietly took effect Saturday, but authorities had no inspections planned to check for compliance with the tighter rules.

The ordinance requires 30 parlors in Los Angeles to enforce a curfew for minors and install surveillance cameras. Police did not plan any immediate inspections, and one business owner said permits were not available yet.

``They said check back in a couple of months,'' said Lisa Woo-Rogers of Blue Screen Gaming.

Los Angeles is the largest of several Southern California cities to enact restrictions on Internet gaming parlors. The ordinance was proposed after several shootings in 2002 near cybercafes, two of them fatal.

A police analysis found that most of the people arrested at cybercafes were minors who violated curfew or truancy rules. Officials were concerned that the cafes were havens for gang activity.

Woo-Rogers described the new regulations as ``pretty reasonable'' and expected to spend about $2,000 to install cameras and obtain a permit.

``We're a cheap baby sitter,'' she said. ``The kids are good here. They know who's in charge here. If they get out of line, they'll hear from us.''