L.A. suburb imposes moratorium on cyber cafes after fatal stabbing, other crimes

Wednesday, January 23rd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (AP) _ In response to a fatal stabbing and other crimes at some of this Los Angeles suburb's 19 cyber cafes, the City Council has placed a moratorium on new permits for them.

The council on Tuesday also tightened rules aimed at keeping young people out of the cafes on school nights.

Cyber cafe parking lots have been the scene of a series of crimes, including the fatal stabbing of a 20-year-old man on Dec. 30. Earlier in the month, a 21-year-old man was stabbed in the arm at another cafe.

In November, four teens wielding baseball bats attacked two boys at the same cafe where the fatal stabbing occurred. Most of the violence has involved feuding gang members, police say.

The council will decide in 45 days whether to extend the moratorium for the rest of the year.

``After the stabbing, it dawned on us that we really haven't taken a hard look at these places,'' said Mayor Bruce Broadwater.

Cyber cafes generally charge a small fee for high-speed Internet access.

Under the ordinance, minors not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian may only stay at the cafes until 8 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays. Fridays and Saturdays they can stay unaccompanied until 10 p.m., city spokeswoman Kathy Moore said.

In exchange, the cafes, which must now close at midnight, will be allowed to remain open until 2 a.m.

The cafes are a fast-growing phenomenon in suburban Southern California. Three years ago, Garden Grove, a city of 151,000 about 30 miles south of Los Angeles, had only two cyber cafes. But three more opened in 2000, followed by another 13 last year. Permits were recently issued for two more.