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Hermosa Beach Cracks Down On Rowdy July 4 Revelers

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Hermosa Beach, CA -

(FOX 11 / AP) Hermosa Beach put out the unwelcome mat for Fourth of July revelers who in recent years have made the city an annual destination for celebrating independence with drunkenness and raucous behavior.

A spike in arrests last year involving brawls and underage drinking led the south Santa Monica Bay community to ramp up police patrols, established a mobile command center on the beach, and make more room in detention centers.

"It's been a gradual increase in unpleasantness over the years," Mayor Kit Bobko said Tuesday. "Last year we had a portion of the beach overtaken by minors who were intoxicated and in some cases completely incapacitated."

Fines for drinking on the beach or in public places normally tally about $500 but will be tripled through Sunday.

As part of a public information campaign, the city worked with young people to create online videos about the consequences of underage drinking. And officials visited high schools to remind young people that they can lose their driver's licenses for a year if caught with open containers of alcohol.

In addition, letters were sent to homeowners encouraging them to keep noise levels low and make sure parties don't extend onto the beach. Landlords and homeowners can be assessed the cost of a police response if officers have to make more than one trip to their properties for noise or other disturbances, officials said.

Police rolled out a 35-foot "jail bus" that will enable officers to detain and quickly process arrestees.

The mayor said paying for police overtime and related expenses is worth it.

"How much does it cost if we have a big fight that results in injuries, and we have a heavy response after the fact?" Bobko said. "I'd rather we take preventative measures."

 

From Gigi Graciette:

When it comes to fun in the sun on the 4th of July, Hermosa Beach is one of the South Bay's hot spots.

Every year, thousands come to this small beach city to party the day away...and for the city, that's a problem.

Oh sure, the tourism is welcome but as business owner Tammie Los told me, "It's a Catch-22" because unfortunately year after year, the crowds are getting rowdier; the drinking heavier; the fights more violent, forcing many businesses to close early.

So once again, Hermosa Beach is tripling the dollar amount on all citations for public drinking, intoxication, etc... bringing an average fine of about $500, including court costs, to upward of $1500. Big bucks for one libation too many.

But what's different this year?", I asked Mayor Kit Bobko. After all, Hermosa did the same thing last year only to see one doozey of a drunken beach brawl involving dozens of not-so-friendly drunks.

"It's different this year", the Mayor tells me since in addition to Hermosa PD, the city has contracted an additional fifty LA County Sheriff's deputies to help them. And LASD has brought a bus with them, a jail bus.

Oh yeah, it's a ticket to ride you don't want.

Stay safe! Happy 4th of July! 

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