SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Downtown Santa Cruz has become a popular destination for New Year's Eve celebrations bringing in large crowds. To help keep the peace, Santa Cruz Police will have all hands on deck Sunday night.
The department has designated a Safety Enhancement Zone along Pacific Avenue from the Clock Tower to the Santa Cruz Warriors Arena. "We have all hands on deck. Everyone is working to ensure we have a safe environment for families who want to come downtown and celebrate the new year," says Joyce Blaschke with the Santa Cruz Police Department.
Santa Cruz residents that spoke with KION say they like the idea of having more officers present to deter bad behavior.
Aside from added officers, the department will close off streets around Pacific Avenue and designate no parking zones. In the same area there will be a "Triple Fine Zone"' where offenders will have to pay a hefty fine for disobeying the law. "That means if someone's drinking,littering or trespassing during that time zone, it's a triple fine. It's going to cost people a lot of money for to make those silly mistakes."
The department has implemented this safety zone for the past few years and say it has proven to be successful, "The police department has found it to be very successful, I think people visiting have found it to be a pleasant evening downtown. We want to have fun, we want you to have fun but we also need to make sure that people feel safe and that they are safe," says Blaschke.
The Safety Enhancement Zone will begin at 5:00 PM on December 31st and end at 5:00 AM on January 1st.