Considering the considerable pre-Fiesta concern expressed about potential gang violence, this year’s Old Spanish Days bash proved exceptionally quiet. There were no gang brawls, no stabbings, and no deaths. Initially, police suspected that an altercation in which a man chucked a chair at another man’s head might have gang overtones, but investigators quickly determined it was just a case of “someone getting ticked off.” The police presence on State Street was intense, said police spokesperson Lt. Lorenzo Duarte, but that’s par for the course. “Every Fiesta, you’re always about to bump into a cop,” he said. Duarte said the police asked for and received the usual amount of cooperation from neighboring law enforcement agencies to keep the peace. Mayor Marty Blum added that the number of hours they worked might have been somewhat longer than usual this year. Aside from rounding up suspected gang members before Fiesta on probation violations, several groups in town took large groups of young at-risk teens on field trips and beach outings during Fiesta. Police also reported a modest increase in enforcement activity during the five days of Fiesta, with felony arrests jumping to 33 this year, up from 21 last year and misdemeanors going from 97 to 104.


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