Newport Beach may add police on peninsula
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.”