New­port Beach may add po­lice on penin­sula

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Hannah Fry hannah.fry@la­times.com

Po­lice pres­ence on the Bal­boa Penin­sula would in­crease dur­ing busy times and sea­sons un­der a pro­posal that the New­port Beach City Coun­cil is ex­pected to dis­cuss Tues­day.

The plan is the lat­est at­tempt to con­trol rowdy be­hav­ior on the penin­sula. Mayor Pro Tem Diane Dixon didn’t get very far when, sev­eral months ago, she pro­posed cre­at­ing an over­lay dis­trict for the area that would in­crease reg­u­la­tions on bars and restau­rants that are open late.

The Bal­boa Penin­sula is a hot spot for beach­side nightlife. One hun­dred restau­rants, bars, lounges and night­clubs on the penin­sula serve al­co­hol, and 26 are open past 11 p.m., ac­cord­ing to the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Al­co­holic Bev­er­age Con­trol.

Penin­sula res­i­dents have long com­plained about noise, prop­erty crime, public uri­na­tion and other prob­lems caused by waves of peo­ple, of­ten in­tox­i­cated, walk­ing around late at night.

Dur­ing a study ses­sion on the is­sue last month, City Coun­cil mem­bers agreed that the prob­lems needed to be reme­died, though they moved away from sup­port­ing in­creased reg­u­la­tions.

Tak­ing di­rec­tion from the coun­cil, city staffers drafted a list of rec­om­men­da­tions to ad­dress crime and other nui­sances.

One rec­om­men­da­tion is to add three po­lice of­fi­cers and a sergeant to pro­vide more law en­force­ment at­ten­tion to the penin­sula dur­ing peak pe­ri­ods such as week­end nights and sum­mer­time.

Po­lice Depart­ment statis­tics in­di­cate that the penin­sula was the busiest area for po­lice calls in 2014, with the ma­jor­ity of the ac­tiv­ity tak­ing place on Satur­days be­tween 10 and 11 p.m.

The cost of an­nual salaries and benefits for the new of­fi­cers would be about $565,000, ac­cord­ing to a staff re­port. The city also would be re­spon­si­ble for $7,700 in uni­form and equip­ment costs, as needed.

“In­creased po­lice ser­vices on Bal­boa Penin­sula are an im­por­tant com­po­nent in ad­dress­ing the iden­ti­fied public safety and qual­ity-oflife con­cerns,” the re­port says.

Staffers rec­om­mended the op­tion if the coun­cil de­ter­mines that “bud­get re­sources are avail­able.”

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