HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. (KTLA) — Tens of thousands revelers were expected Thursday to descend on the Strand, a popular beach promenade here, where they can expect an increased police presence compared to last Fourth of July.
The number of officers patrolling the area will be tripled, according to Lt. Tom Thompson of the Hermosa Beach Police Department. “We’ll have 100 law enforcement down here,” including 50 Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, he said.
In 2012, Independence Day celebrations here were marred by fistfights on the sand and public intoxication at overcrowded beach houses.
Eleven people were injured in one the brawls, which was captured on video. Raucous house parties were held at some residences that were filled to four times their capacity.
“As you can see, I’m definitely not the mayor from ‘Footloose,’” Hermosa Beach Mayor Patrick “Kit” Bobko said in an interview. “I’m not here to take anybody’s fun away. We want everybody to have a good time.
“We got into a cycle where we started noticing things had gotten a little bit progressively worse over the last couple of years,” he said. “We wanted to break the cycle, so we made sure that we had enough police on hand. If you want to come down and enjoy yourself, you’re able to.”
Fines for carrying an open container of alcohol in public will be tripled to about $300 through Sunday, officials said. Landlords and homeowners will be subject to fines if police are called to their properties more than once.
“We’re probably going to be drinking near our car and not on the beach,” said a man who intended to celebrate near the Strand. “And we’re going to be responsible because we don’t want to get a fine.”
His companion shook her head, saying she didn’t like the security crackdown. “I feel like July 4th is the one day when everybody is out and about and trying to have fun and enjoying their day off,” she said. “I feel like it’s too much of a law.”