SLO expands ordinance targeting bad behavior during first week of Poly

The new time period starts the first day Cal Poly students move onto campus, extends through the first week of classes and ends at 7 a.m. the next Monday.

acornejo@thetribunenews.comJuly 3, 2013 

San Luis Obispo is ramping up its efforts to curb excessive partying by Cal Poly students during their first two weeks of school.

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved including the start of Cal Poly’s academic year in its safety enhancement zone ordinance, which allows the city to double fines for common misdemeanors associated with poor behavior.

The new time period starts the first day Cal Poly students move onto campus, extends through the first week of classes and ends at 7 a.m. the following Monday.

The law — which applies to all residents, not just students — allows the San Luis Obispo Police Department to double fines and charge up to $1,000 for acts such as nudity, public urination and possessing open containers of alcohol in public places.

Cal Poly’s Week of Welcome and the first week of the school year now join holidays such as Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras that are already governed by the ordinance.

A significant number of citations are typically issued at the start of the school year, but they taper off by the second week of school, officials said.

From Sept. 12 to Sept. 23 last year, police issued 67 citations for minors in possession, responded to 97 calls for noise violations and issued 27 citations for urinating in public.

By comparison, from Sept. 24 to Sept. 30 last year, police issued two citations for minors in possession, responded to42 calls for noise violations and issued six citations for urinating in public.

The law stipulates that first-offense violations will double to $700 from $350 and second offenses will increase to $1,000 from $700 during those days. A third offense within a year’s period also incurs a $1,000 fine.

“We have been involved in the discussion with the city about moving forward with the safety enhancement zone,” said Keith Humphrey, Cal Poly’s vice president for student affairs. “We are always in favor of things that promote student health and safety and encourage them to be good citizens and neighbors.”

The San Luis Obispo Police Department will promote the change in the law through public service announcements, posters, media ads and other efforts in August and September.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.

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