HALF MOON BAY (KPIX 5) — San Mateo County is cracking down on rowdy beachgoers in Half Moon Bay. Neighbors of Poplar Beach say the situation is bad with noise, trash and illegal fireworks.

“It’s just been a horrible situation,” said neighbor Kelli Swan.

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Swan says illegal activity on the beach and in the parking lot seems to pick up when the sun goes down.

“Tons of garbage left behind, people are leaving behind full tables that they play games on, they’re leaving their fires burning. I woke up at about 12:30 to some loud booms and there were professional-level fireworks going off on the beach,” Swan said.

Half Moon Bay and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office posted a zero tolerance policy for fireworks this week and they will be writing citations for $107 each.

Deputies have increased routine patrols in the area, where several car break-ins have recently occurred.

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The city of Half Moon Bay is also hiring private security guards to patrol the beaches and parking lots all night to primarily act as a deterrent.

Although parking lots are closed at sunset, the beach is accessible to the public on foot or bicycle 24 hours a day.

“By dedicating an overnight patrol both here and other beaches, it just means we’ll have more people with more eyes on the property more often,” said Mathew Chidester, Deputy City Manager. “Hopefully it will convince people to not come down here to do some things they’ve been doing in the past.”

Chidester said the private security company will be paid about $20,000 for its services until the end of summer.

The Sheriff’s office is also asking the county to purchase a Polaris off-road police vehicle which will allow the deputies to safely drive down the bluffs and have a greater police presence on the beaches.

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