SANTA CRUZ — As New Year’s Eve revelers endured temperatures that dipped to the low 40s, police were out in force to make sure those celebrations were safe. They reported, however, that the night was overall a quiet one.
Although the crowds were significantly down from last year at Santa Cruz’s Do-It-Yourself New Year’s parade, arrests were slightly up, the Santa Cruz Police Department said.
Still, the SCPD used its entire staff of police and community service officers to handle the anticipated crowds during New Year’s Eve.
According to the SCPD, an estimated 7,000 people descended on Santa Cruz for the annual event, down 2,000 from 2011, police said.
Officers made a total of 22 arrests, 21 of which were for public intoxication. One arrest was for possession of narcotics.
In addition, officers issued 31 citations, 24 of which were triple fines for alcohol possession, pursuant to the Safety Enhancement Zone.
Police in 2011 made just 11 arrests and issued 24 citations.
In Capitola, volunteers from the Capitola Police Department gave rides home to 150 people who were too intoxicated to drive for the department’s 25th annual “Safe Rides Home” program.
Those efforts were made possible by donated food from Gayle’s Bakery and a 15-passenger van from Autoworld Car Rental & Auto Sales in Santa Cruz, the Capitola Police Department said.
The Scotts Valley Police Department said that officers screened 266 vehicles at a sobriety checkpoint Friday night, and investigated five people for driving under the influence of alcohol. No arrests were made.
The California Highway Patrol for the Santa Cruz area reported that 12 people were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol during the CHP’s maximum enforcement period.
CHP officer Sarah Jackson said that number is about average for a long weekend.
It was a quiet night in Watsonville, with no arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol and only two for being drunk in public, said Watsonville Police Lt. Terry Traub.
In addition, police responded to two domestic disputes and one residential burglary, Traub said.
“It looks like it was pretty quiet,” he said.
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