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Rock Lerum was a big hit riding his double unicycle. (Dan coyro/Sentinel)

SANTA CRUZ -- The county rang in 2013 on a fairly quiet note this New Year's, police said.

There were 22 New Year's Eve-related arrests in Santa Cruz, all but one of which were for public intoxication, said Steve Clark, deputy police chief. The other was for possession of narcotics.

Police also issued 31 citations, 24 of which were triple-fine citations for alcohol violations, Clark said.

Those statistics marked a slight increase from 2011, Clark said, though there were estimated to be 2,000 fewer people downtown to celebrate the holiday this time around. Around 10 p.m., officers estimated there were 7,000 celebrants, down from 9,000 the prior year.

During New Year's Eve 2011, Santa Cruz police made 15 arrests and issued 24 citations, Clark said.

The Police Department put its entire staff of police officers and community service officers to work Monday night to handle the crowds downtown and additional calls for service throughout the city. From Dec. 29 through Jan. 1 at 5 p.m., the police department enacted what's called a safety enhancement zone for the city's downtown, meaning anyone caught violating certain municipal codes, including possession of open containers and defacing sidewalks, faced tripled fines.

The festivities appeared to be even calmer in other parts of the county.

Watsonville Police Sgt. Brian Ridgway said his department made just a handful of arrests, most of which involved domestic disputes.


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"It was pretty quiet," Ridgway said of the night.

He joked that perhaps it was too cold Monday for the usual carousing officers see on holidays.

Crowds who gathered for the city-sponsored countdown celebration at the Town Clock in Santa Cruz experienced temperatures that dipped to approximately 41 degrees.

In the unincorporated parts of the county, Sheriff's Lt. Bob Pursley said there were only about 13 arrests made Monday night, the bulk of which were for public intoxication/disorderly conduct.

"Nothing real unusual," Pursley said.

In Capitola, volunteers with the Police Department received calls and provided rides home to 150 people who were too intoxicated to drive. This marked the 25th year the Police Department has offered the Safe Ride Home program, made possible by the assistance of dozens of volunteers and local restaurants and bars. Auto World in Santa Cruz also donated the use of a 15-passenger van for the night, according to Capitola Police Sgt. Cliff Sloma.

Information on the number of driving under the influence arrests made during the New Year's holiday was not immediately available Tuesday from the California Highway Patrol.

Follow Sentinel reporter Jessica M. Pasko on Twitter at Twitter.com/jmpasko96