The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) wants locals and visitors to enjoy their holiday weekend but do so in a safe manner.

Officers are reminding everyone drinking is prohibited in public spaces (including the beach), valuables should be kept safe in large crowds and drivers should be aware of additional enforcement operations in the next few days.

“We do anticipate larger crowds coming with parents, tourists and kids this weekend,” said Sergeant Rudy Flores.

He said the SMPD’s Memorial Day deployment is similar to other large holidays like July 4 and includes additional foot patrols or bicycle patrols in high traffic areas and all-terrain vehicles on the beach.

“There will also be additional officers on the pier and in the Esplanade areas and officers throughout the city,” said Flores. “It’s going to be a very busy weekend here.”

He said large crowds can make appealing targets for opportunistic criminals. Anyone parking at the beach or in a Downtown lot should remember the department’s “take it, hide it, lock it so you can keep it,” campaign.

He said valuables should never be left in plain sight and when they can’t be taken with you, they should be hidden from view in a securely locked vehicle.

Locals and visitors should remain aware of the valuables they do keep with them. When visiting restaurants, purses and wallets shouldn’t be placed under seats or behind chairs where they can’t be seen. Valuables shouldn’t be left unattended on bus or train seats and anyone should remember to call the police if they see something suspicious.

“We say this all the time but it’s really true, if you see something say something,” said Flores.

He said no-one should drink if they plan to drive and everyone should remember it’s illegal to drink in public, including at City parks with grills and on the beach.

Drivers who drink will find the roads particularly inhospitable due to a parallel road enforcement project.

“Our traffic division will be focused on motorcycle safety this weekend and along with that, since they are out there, they’ll also be stopping vehicles and will be able to address all of the DUI type of investigations,” said Flores.

In addition to their holiday enforcement operations, local police officers are also joining law enforcement statewide and across the United States in the National Motorcycle safety awareness month special enforcement operations.

Local officers will hold specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operations in the coming days in an effort to lower deaths and injuries.

Officers will be on the lookout for motorcycle safety from 6 a.m. – 8 p.m. on May 27, 28 and 29.

“Extra officers will be patrolling areas frequented by motorcyclists and where motorcycle crashes occur,” said Sergeant Rudy Flores in announcing the efforts. “Officers will be looking for violations made by drivers and riders alike that can lead to motorcycle crashes.  They will be cracking down on both those operating regular vehicles and motorcycles who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, making illegal turns, or any other dangerous violation.”

May is motorcycle awareness month and the California Motorcyclist Safety Program is offering special, low cost rider training classes during the month of May.

New motorcycle riders are strongly encouraged to take a basic training course through the Safety Program. Information and training locations are available at http://www.californiamotorcyclist.com/ or 1-877 RIDE 411 (1-877-743-3411).

Experienced riders can also benefit from safety reminders and the organization is offering a four-hour refresher course in May.

Riders will use their own street-legal motorcycle during the class taught by CMSP-certified Instructors at a cost of only $95. Log onto the CMSP website (http://cmsp.msi5.com) to register at a location.

“California motorcycle fatalities saw a phenomenal drop of 37 percent from 2008 to 2010, but then rose 31 percent by 2015,” said Flores. “Efforts like these are aimed at curbing any more rises in motorcycle deaths and sending the numbers back downward. Over the course of the past three years in Santa Monica, motorcycle involved collisions have resulted in approximately three fatal and 69 injury crashes.”

 

 

 

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The message to all drivers and motorcyclists is: share in the responsibility and do your part by safely “sharing the road.”

 

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...