Thousand Oaks has long had the reputation of being one of the safest cities in the United States. However, since the shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill took 12 lives three months ago, safety has taken on a new meaning.
Concerns about safety are especially prevalent for students who frequent local bars, such as The Tipsy Goat on Thousand Oaks Boulevard, less than three miles from campus.
Senior Sarah Harber, a Tipsy Goat regular, said she understands that some students may be skeptical about entering bars. However, she said she has a somewhat unpopular opinion—she hasn’t sensed any danger when going out.
“It’s important to be cautious and aware of my surroundings, but I don’t feel unsafe,” Harber said.
Harber said more fights have broken out recently at The Tipsy Goat and she noticed the increased security with ID checks. However, she said the bar is taking proper measures to keep situations under control as best they can.
Since the shooting, there are now six total security guards in place throughout the night. Brittny LaRue, manager at The Tipsy Goat, said they have security in every room, one roaming the bar and one consistently checking the parking lot to ensure no trouble is brewing.
Security guards are also checking pockets and purses at the door to ensure no weapons or alcohol are carried in.
The Tipsy Goat uses a scanner to check ID cards. But since there is a chance the device could be wrong at any time, security guards also look at IDs.
“If we are curious and it doesn’t necessarily look like them, I’ll ask them their [zodiac] sign and their address and that stuff. If someone looks out of the ordinary, we try not to discriminate. It’s hard, but I’ll pat them down if I need to,” said Giuseppe Manfredonia, head of security at The Tipsy Goat.
Manfredonia said their security guards go through extensive training, such as earning a security guard registration card and passing a psychological and written test. Once they’re certified, they meet with supervisors to cover ground rules such as how to remove patrons from the bar. Manfredonia said having the ability to remove someone from the bar without causing any harm to them is one of their biggest concerns.
Another thing the staff is working on is communicating properly with the security guards. If someone sees a situation that might get out of hand, they will intervene immediately.
After the Borderline tragedy, The Tipsy Goat security team made safety procedures in case of an emergency. During regular business hours, the staff is being more attentive and trying to get to know customers rather than just handing out drinks, LaRue said. That way, staff can better analyze situations and customers’ alcohol intake.
Security guards have always been there to diffuse the situation when a fight occurs, Manfredonia said.
A key safety tip as a patron is to never get involved in a fight, LaRue said. If you happen to be a bystander, it is the security guards’ job to address the situation. The patron should never deal with that themselves – the last thing The Tipsy Goat wants is a verbal or physical altercation, LaRue said.
Manfredonia said he tries to “build a relationship with everyone that walks through the door.” That way, if someone gets heated, they respect him enough to calm down.