SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - San Luis Obispo Police are stepping up patrols for enforcement of a Safety Enhancement Zone that took effect at midnight Friday.
The Safety Enhancement Zone enforcement period is timed to coincide with the start of the school year at Cal Poly and at Cuesta College.
The 2013 city ordinance increases police patrols in a large area in the northern part of San Luis Obispo around the Cal Poly campus.
It authorizes the doubling of fines up to $1,000 for common misdemeanors including noise violations, public urination, deadly and dangerous weapons, open alcoholic container in public and unsafe or unruly public gatherings such as large street or house parties.
Fines are also increased for traffic, pedestrian and cycling violations.
"We just try to send a strong message that being a good neighbor, having loud parties, major events has a negative impact", said San Luis Obispo Police Captain Jeff Smith, "we want to try and discourage that early on and let the students know, or any individuals who might participate in these events, that really its not acceptable and hopefully kind of set the tone for the school year ahead."
Police say the Safety Enhancement Zone has proven effective in recent years with calls for party-related noise complaints and citations for drunk in public or urinating in public cut in half during previous enforcement periods.
"It is about safety, whether its neighborhood wellness, whether its bicycle safety, traffic safety, even just going out and having a good time being responsible and having individuals who can take care of you", Capt. Smith said.
The current Safety Enhancement Zone enforcement period runs through September 18 but will be enacted again for Halloween, St. Patrick's Day and Mardi Gras.
Police will be relying on neighborhood walk and talks and social media to get the word out about the current Safety Enhancement Zone enforcement period.