Police calls and activity were way up for the Fourth of July weekend, as were arrests and vehicular accidents, as compared to 2012, according to East Hampton Town Police Chief Edward Ecker.
“It was busier, for sure,” he said.
Last year, the chief said, East Hampton Town police received 435 calls for all types of assistance during the four-day period that began on Wednesday, July 4. This year, over what was essentially a four-day weekend, with the holiday falling on a Thursday, there were 555 calls to police for help, an increase of 28 percent.
Motor vehicle accidents were up as well, with 33 over that time period this year, as opposed to 24 last year. East Hampton Village reported 24 vehicular accidents during the holiday week, bringing the total to 57.
Six people were taken to the hospital after accidents in East Hampton Town over the weekend.
The weekend included a police sweep of the town designed to catch drunken drivers. It was conducted in conjunction with the Suffolk County district attorney’s office. Southampton Town and Village, the Suffolk County police, the Suffolk sheriff’s office, and the New York State Troopers all sent officers. However, instead of setting up roadblocks, as was done last year, the officers did what Chief Ecker called “saturation patrol,” which made better use of manpower, he said.
The village and town combined for 29 arrests on alcohol-related vehicular charges as a result, along with nine other arrests.
One operation that went smoothly, the policing of a massive gathering for the Shark Attack Sounds party on Friday at the Montauk Yacht Club, was planned well in advance by the chief and his staff, who set up a “no parking” perimeter around the area and had officers on patrol.
The Snug Harbor marina called police at one point to report someone parking on the marina’s property. An officer responded within a couple of minutes and spoke to the driver, who then drove away.
The party dispersed gradually, which lessened the crowds looking to get on the waiting buses, though traffic was jammed on West Lake Drive.
Chief Ecker acknowledged that the tragic death of Anna Lytton of Springs, 14, on Pantigo Road in East Hampton Village in June was an ominous beginning for the heart of the season. But he hopes that, with good planning and coordination with the village, the department and the town can get through the summer relatively unscathed.
“We just want to make sure that nobody gets hurt,” the chief said.