Increased patrols in effect for St. Patty's Day weekend - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Increased patrols in effect for St. Patty's Day weekend

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - As St. Patrick's Day revelers don their finest green frocks to head out Saturday, San Diego police officers will also be out in force.

Several St. Patrick's Day events were planned in the San Diego area including the 32nd annual St. Patrick's Day Festival hosted by the Irish Congress of Southern California. It includes a parade, set to get under way at 10:30 a.m. on the west side of Balboa Park.

The 17th annual "Sham-Rock" block party, billed as a 150-foot-long Irish Pub on the streets of the Gaslamp, will feature the Young Dubliners, other bands and river dancers on three stages. Umbrellas will be allowed in and tents will be set up throughout the event.

Sham-Rock is set to run from 2 p.m. to midnight, and tickets cost $45 with all proceeds to benefit the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation. It will take place on Sixth Avenue between E and G streets, F Street between Fifth and Seventh avenues and on G Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues. The San Diego Police Department plans to deploy additional officers this weekend to support regularly patrols and to focus on hotspots for drunken driving, said Officer Mark McCullough.

"St. Patrick's Day is one of the most widely celebrated saint's days in the world, but all too often it shares that great distinction with a far lesser one -- too many people are driving drunk and killing or maiming themselves and others on the road as a result," McCullough said.

Last year during the St. Patrick's Day period three people were killed and 96 were seriously injured in drunken driving crashes throughout the state, according to statistics compiles by the California Office of Traffic Safety.

Law enforcement officials recommended St. Patrick's Day revelers use a designated driver and plan a safe way home before festivities begin, to take keys from or make arrangements for those about drive while impaired and to report drunken drivers on the road.

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