NEWPORT (CBSLA.com) — As July 4 falls on a Friday this year, police in Newport Beach are paying particular attention to the Balboa Peninsula in anticipation of large numbers of partygoers.
Balboa Boulevard at 32nd Street in Newport Beach, dubbed “The Warzone,” is one block from the ocean and is infamous as a heavy party spot during the Independence Day holiday.
“Well, we end up with a lot of kids and adults that consume alcohol outside the fences, (then) they try to hide it behind your walls, they sit on your fences,” Newport Beach resident Natalie Carroll described. “Sometimes, they like to lose their lunch over the fence. That’s a big concern.”
Each year, police tweak their strategies as thousands of revelers gather to celebrate.
“This year again, the streets are open, which is a huge deal; a very big deal for the community,” Newport Beach police Deputy Chief Dave McGill said. “We’re not going to have lights, like we normally do. We’ll still have the horses; we’ll still have a lot of resources coming in from outside of our police department to help us. We’re going to look at social media this year.”
A team of officers will pay specific attention to sites like Twitter to get tips on party locations in an attempt to break up large, problematic gatherings before they begin.
Escalated fines, reaching as high as $1000, will be in place for violators.
“I think that’s great, because typically the kids, if the cops are down here, they’ll say ‘OK, party has moved to 42nd (street),’ ” Carroll said. “If they’re down there, they’ll say ‘Party’s down at 32nd’. So, it kind of shifts, and you’ll hear them actually talk about it, and they’ll talk about it on their phones. They’re texting.”
Authorities are setting up cameras so the watch commander can monitor situations from the station.