‘Operation After Dark’ nets 78 arrests, thousands in fines in illegal club crackdown in Paterson

Paterson officials say illegal nightclubs have been identified as major contributors to crime and disturbances in the community.

Chris Keating

Jun 20, 2024, 10:43 AM

Updated 30 days ago

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It’s called Operation After Dark - it’s an effort by police in Paterson that started in March, to close down illegal nightclubs that can wreak havoc on residential neighborhoods where they operate.
The data from recent busts is now coming in.
There have been complaints in Paterson neighborhoods of public urination, noise, drug use and gun violence - all related to these illegal nightclubs, according to officials.
Paterson Officer in Charge Isa Abbassi says, “If you own one of these locations and your defense is ignorance of what’s happening…I would be very worried.”
Abbassi says they're targeting the owners of barber shops, storefronts, private homes, auto shops, storage spaces and warehouse-style buildings where these parties are taking place late at night.
Since March, Abbassi says there’ve been, “484 inspections of after-hours of premises, 78 arrests, 379 criminal charges.”
The city has also levied over $100,000 in fines.
These parties, says Abbassi, have become a gateway to sex trafficking and violent crime.
Over the years, the data shows that 15% of city shootings are connected to these illegal clubs. Often, the criminal behavior isn’t confined to the indoors.
“Things can spill out onto the street so the illegal activity is not confined to that facility it plays out in public,” says Mayor Andre Sayegh.
For those who have been busted, Patesron Council member Luis Velez has a message.
“All of those 78 arrested, do not call council members to bail you out! Call your lawyer,” Velez says.
City officials say Paterson has a reputation that, “anything goes,” which has brought on outsiders and crime.
With Operation After Dark, they say they hope to lose that monicker.


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