PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – There’s only one full day left of 2022 and area law enforcement are getting ready for anything on that last day — from DUI and car theft to gunshots and illegal fireworks. While New Year’s Eve is a night of celebration for many, it doesn’t stop some from breaking the law.
Despite the warnings every year not to drive while impaired after a night of ringing in the new year, local law enforcement agencies are beefing up patrols this weekend to catch those who will hit the road anyway.
“After midnight, about 50 percent of the people out there, or up to 50 percent of people, could possibly be impaired to some degree,” said Sgt. Chris Skidmore with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
In Southwest Washington, Vancouver Police and Clark County Sheriff’s Office are teaming up for DUI enforcement through Target Zero, as agencies around the Portland area plan for similar heightened patrols. CCSO is also encouraging people if they plan to drink, get a ride to and from where you’re celebrating so your car isn’t targeted by thieves.
“This is a big day for vehicle thefts and for vehicle prowls,” said Skidmore. “Criminals also know if people are going to go out for the night they might have a plan to drive down somewhere and take a ride home and do an Uber or something so they know vehicles are going to be unattended.”
CCSO also encourages you to have a back-up option if you’re going out drinking. In the case there are no available Ubers or Lyfts as others also try to get home, have a plan in place for a designated driver who can take you home or see what public transportation options are available — something that doesn’t include you resorting back to your car if you’re under the influence.
At the stroke of midnight, don’t fire guns into the air. It’s reckless and what goes up must come down and can seriously injure someone. And if you’re setting off fireworks, know where you can and can’t use them and stick to the legal kind. The Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal says the big ones can pose an even bigger risk.
“We really, really hit this hard in July because of course, the risk for wildfire is high, but around this time of year what we don’t want to do is start our home on fire as well,” said Alison Green with the Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal. “The fire danger might not be super high out in the woods, but it is next to our home and inside our home.”
In past New Year’s Eves, the fire marshal’s office says most fireworks calls aren’t necessarily for fires, but instead made by people not setting them off safely
“Typically, what we see this time of year is injuries, so it’s injuries to fingers, to hands, to arms,” said Green. “That’s folks that are using their illegal fireworks or using ones that are unsafe.”
So maybe this year — leave the fireworks to the professionals and catch a local display instead.