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• CFE — where George Cooper was fatally stabbed in September 2010 — was closed in September for violating its use-and-occupancy permit.

• Plaza 23 Event Center in Temple Hills was cited in November for not having a dance-hall permit. The club remains open, but its owners have been ordered not to host dance-related events while authorities consider the club’s application for a permit.

“As we looked at several of these establishments, they were clearly violating [their permits], and we approached agencies to look at opportunities to get them in line,” Chief Magaw said, when asked about the flurry of enforcement activity.

Two clubs, Puzzles and Upscale Ballroom, reopened with warnings not to allow adult entertainment, police said.

Police said they are beginning to notice a decrease in violent crime in the district where MSG and CFE are located. Of 83 shootings and homicides reported in that district from January through the middle of last month, 24 have occurred since Aug. 11 — the day MSG was closed. That amounts to a 29 percent drop in incidents this year over the same period in 2010, Capt. Grant said.

“We used to pull every resource to these two streets, which was leaving the rest of the district with no officers,” Capt. Grant said of the 30 officers regularly deployed to areas around the clubs as they let out after concerts. “Now those officers can stay in their beats to concentrate on the neighborhoods they are assigned to.”

Unfair enforcement?

Club owners have criticized the wave of enforcement. They note that no new dance-hall license has been granted since the county began accepting applications in October.

Employees of MSG are fighting the law.

After the club was padlocked in August, four men were charged with operating a dance hall without a license — a crime punishable by six months jail or a $1,000 fine under the new law.

Lawyer William A. Sherman II, who is representing MSG owner Darryl Robinson, said he hopes to get the case dismissed at a hearing Tuesday on the grounds that enforcement of the law violated his client’s rights to due process.

“We would argue there was not a reasonable notice in terms of opportunity to comply,” Mr. Sherman said. “The legislation was enacted … and a mere 17 days later, the law was enforced against my client.”

Mr. Sherman argues that there is no way MSG could have obtained a license by the time the club was shut down for not having it.

“Compliance was impossible, yet enforcement took place,” he said.

Club owners also have long argued that it’s unfair to hold them accountable for incidents that happen when patrons leave their clubs. The killing of 20-year-old Jasmine Banks outside MSG in August was the result of a drive-by shooting that owners suspect was committed by people they declined to let into the club that night.

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