As reported in late January 2012 by Balidiscovery.com [See: Taking Back Bali’s Streets] local residents of Kuta and surrounding areas, unhappy with the rising levels of crime and noise in Bali’s nightlife Mecca have begun neighborhood patrols to keep the peace.
Local residents are also insisting that nightspots close their doors at 2:00 a.m. to reduce crime and noise pollution that disturbs residents in the area.
Bali Post reports that definitive steps by Kuta residents to take back control of their neighborhoods was much in evidence on Wednesday, February 29, 2012, when hundreds of local citizens forcibly closed entertainment establishments continuing to operate past 2:00 a.m..
The direct action by local Kuta residents took place after the refusal by a number of businesses to conform to the 2:00 a.m. closing time demanded by the Kuta community, a rule endorsed by Badung regency administrators.
Neighborhood watch patrols are now in operation in Kuta comprised of rotating participants from the 13 banjars or village assemblies.
Among the nightspots visited and forcibly closed by the large group of local residents on February 29th included the notorious Sky Garden, the scene of numerous violent incident in the past.
According to the chairman of the Kuta People’s Association (Lembaga Pemberdayaan Masyarakat-Kuta), I Nyoman Graha Wicaksana, the current mass action by Kuta residents reflects anger against Badung regency officials seen as reluctant or unable to take action against nightspots that violate licensing rules and regulations. He cited how many nightspots in Kuta remain open until 5:00 a.m., well past the stipulated 2:00 a.m. closiing time.
Complained Wicaksana: “The Badung administration cannot enforce their own rules. Meanwhile, the people are fed up with all the noise.”
A community figure, I Gusti Anom Gumanti, told the press that he did not take part in the enforcement action carried out by hundreds Kuta residents. He did, however, admit that he had been informed of the action beforehand. Saying local residents were angry with the classic problem of all night operations and noise pollution in Kuta.
In the wake of the street action by Kuta residents, Gumanti said he hopes the Badung administration would now publish a circular notice limiting operating hours and then be forceful in enforcing that rule. “So far the Badung administration has been too weak in enforcement as proven by nightspots that open beyond the stipulated closing time of 2:00 a.m.”
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