Last Tuesday, the Newport Beach Police Department was the star of the show at the Town Hall meeting where the public was promised a reason for the “Lights Out At 11pm” proposal, a proposal officially known as the innocuous-sounding “Balboa Overlay”.
Instead, what the public received was two-fold:
1) An outright refusal to answer the question of “why is this being proposed” and a direction instead attend the Study Session on March 10th at City Hall– nearly a month away.
2) A presentation by police that would leave many in the audience questioning how Balboa Peninsula was so infested with crime.
Josh Yocam and I decided to dig into the numbers.
First, the police presented our overall crime. Then, they divided it up by population. With 11,000 residents, Balboa has the highest crime rate in the entire city, they said. There’s only one problem with that: It is entirely misleading, and everyone presenting knew it. As you are likely aware, human beings commit crimes– not beds. Attributing crime to “resident counts” rather than the number of people actually on the beach is ludicrous from the onset. According to the city’s own documents, There are 125,000 visitors on Balboa Peninsula on Big Wave Days and holidays alone. During the weekends, Balboa’s visitor population surges to 80,000 people. To put that into perspective: on the summer weekends alone, more than the entire total population count of the rest of Newport Beach is concentrated onto Balboa Peninsula.
When looking at crime reports with these numbers in mind, Balboa Peninsula actually has the least amount of crime per person than any other district of the city.
Does Balboa Peninsula have crime sometimes? Yes.
Does Balboa Peninsula have violent crime sometimes? Yes.
Is it the least amount of crime per person than any other policed division of Newport Beach? You betcha.
The fear-mongering from the political levels of this city in order to push this agenda item is absolutely horrendous.
“But wait– There’s more!” Yes, sadly, it didn’t end there.
During the meeting we were repeatedly told that there were 117 alcohol-serving establishments on Balboa Peninsula. However, that’s also entirely misleading. Aside from things like grocery stores, there are only 89 establishments which are licensed serve consumable alcohol on the Peninsula.
Of those, 2 are closed.
15 are boats.
3 are private clubs.
and of the ones left, 46 are not even open past 11pm.
That leaves us with 23 who have licenses to serve alcohol after 11pm, three of which are those aforementioned private clubs.
This remaining group of so-called troublemakers include Fly and Fish, El Ranchito, and the Gelato store. A fearsome bunch, indeed!
The city has blown these numbers out of proportion. The attempt to scare the public into blindly accepting the Balboa Overlay has backfired. The real numbers have come to light, and the residents are not happy about being misled. This type of presentation is at best irresponsible and at worst duplicitous. Our beach community is safe, fun, and thriving.
The last thing we need is anyone proclaiming those infamous 9 words: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
Sign the petition against “Lights Out”, here:[emailpetition id=”1″]
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