Briefly In Public Safety

Arrests, citations increase this year

Last week saw a spike in alcohol-related citations and arrests, as well as an increase in traffic collisions and hit-and-runs, according to Laguna Beach police.

There were 988 calls for officers and service this year from May 24 to Monday, 59 more than 2010.

Total arrests nearly tripled compared to last year with 73 arrests versus only 28 in 2010.

Public intoxication arrests doubled, from three in 2010 to six this year, as well as hit-and-run collisions, going from four to nine. Drunk driving arrests only slightly increased from 11 to 13.

Reported traffic collisions went from 13 to 22 this year, nearly twice as much as last year's holiday week. Similarly, alcohol-related citations went up from seven to 12.

Police wrote 96 reports this year, 17 more than last year. Citations — traffic and municipal — went up from 136 in 2010 to 167 this year.

The Police Department had three additional DUI units assigned to saturation patrol this year, Sgt. Louise Callus said.

Marine Safety reported close to 80,000 people at the beaches this year, which they say are always packed every year, regardless of the weather or surf conditions.

Chief of Marine Safety Kevin Snow said lifeguards didn't find this year much different from 2010 with the exception of medical aids and rescues. Medical aids were cut in half, going from 100 over the three-day weekend last year to 53 this past weekend. There were only three rescues last year compared to 23 rescues this year.

In addition, there were three boat rescues, two missing children and one mutual aid response for the drowning and boat accident in Dana Point off Strand Beach.

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Hotel ejects possibly armed guest

A female employee at the Surf & Sand Hotel called police to report a suspicious male guest, possibly carrying a gun, at 10:30 p.m. Friday.

The woman reported that she had bumped into the guest and he responded, "What's the difference between you and me is that I have a 9mm."

There was no report taken, but he was asked to leave the premises per the hotel's request. Authorities did not find a gun.

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Hit-and-run at Mountain Road

A suspected drunk driver struck a tree and building after jumping a curb in the 200 block of Mountain Road at 8:51 p.m. Monday.

The driver fled the scene with the vehicle. The traffic collision damaged the transmission and engine, causing it to leak fluids. Officers followed the trail, leading them to the man's home in the 1100 block of Skyline.

The 23-year-old Laguna Beach resident was arrested on suspicion of hit-and-run and DUI.

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Homeowners chases wrong car

Laguna Beach police received a call at 8:36 p.m. Sunday from Newport Beach police reporting that a resident from Newport Beach was following into Laguna Beach a car with suspects, who he believed broke into his home.

He reported that a male suspect walked in through the front door of his home. When approached by the home's resident, the suspect said he walked into the wrong house and left the premises.

The resident then followed the suspected intruder's vehicle and claimed that people in the vehicle pointed a handgun at him.

Newport Beach police located the car in the 200 block of Viejo and initiated a felony car stop. Two juveniles were detained and later released at the scene. The Newport resident said that he followed the wrong car. No gun was found.

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'Animals' stolen from premises

Two reports of grand theft came in last week regarding animal sculptures being stolen from outside a business and residence.

A homeowner reported on Monday that her 11-foot-tall giraffe mailbox was taken from her front yard. It was built by her and her husband, and she said it did not "walk off" on its own. She values the mailbox at $1,000.

In a phone call, the homeowner said she would not press charges if it was returned in good condition.

Stealing a mailbox is a felony under state law.

In a similar incident, Barnaby Rudge Bookstore on Glenneyre Street reported Tuesday that a Chinese hand-painted elephant was removed from the premises. Another similar piece was damaged.

The shopkeeper valued the loss at $4,000.

—Joanna Clay

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