Public urination crackdown in Hermosa Beach

Hermosa Beach City Council has called for a further crackdown on public urination, an activity conducted under cover of darkness, mostly by young men leaving downtown Hermosa nightspots. Neighboring residents have long complained that the revelers whiz on their walls or pee in their petunias as they leave the area around closing time.

“Generally these violations occur after the closing of the late night establishments in darkened corners of our community, such as behind bushes, trash enclosures, parking lots and in our [Hermosa Avenue] parking structure,” wrote Police Chief Greg Savelli in a report that was requested by Councilman Michael DiVirgilio.

“However, as some patrons/revelers travel to their homes, they may also urinate in residential neighborhoods when overcome by the urge,” Savelli wrote.

Officials said the violators also make deposits in the darkened areas outside a downtown bank building.

Public urination is a legal infraction punishable by a citation and fine. Increased attention to the downtown area has resulted in 285 citations over the past two years, up from perhaps 15 a year before the increased enforcement. Savelli wrote that most people pay the fines, but one person was convicted in court after contesting a ticket.

Savelli recommended numerous possible approaches to zip up the collective fly, and the council directed him to implement them at his discretion. Possibilities include:

– Improving signage directing people to public bathrooms,

– encouraging some businesses to increase outdoor lighting and perhaps place portable bathrooms in their lots,

– encouraging businesses to use printed bar napkins and social media to remind patrons to pee indoors,

– publicizing the names of people who are cited,

– exercising “continued zero tolerance when this violation is observed.”

Savelli told the council that the downtown nightspots have cooperated with previous attempts to quiet the area around closing time, and he expected they would be open to the city’s suggestions.

But in his report, he advised that it might not be possible to entirely stem the flow.

“It is hoped that by taking some of these actions we can significantly reduce the incidents of public urination, however it will be difficult to completely eliminate as most of the persons caught are intoxicated 20-somethings with a yet to be developed sense of social responsibility,” Savelli wrote.

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