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Hamptons holiday crowds compliant, respectful, police say

People line up in an orderly fashion during

People line up in an orderly fashion during the early morning hours of Sunday, July 3, 2016, outside the Memory Motel in Montauk. Credit: Doug Kuntz

The Hamptons party crowd seems to have calmed down a lot from last year, officials said after a weekend of increased patrols.

East Hampton and Southampton town leaders said police received plenty of calls over the long July Fourth weekend, but the volume came from the huge number of visitors in the East End, not from any major problems.

“Crowds were very big,” East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said Tuesday. “People trying to hail cabs along Main Street, and taxicabs in the roadways continues to be a problem we are trying to address for safety concerns.”

From Friday through noon Tuesday, there were 642 calls for service townwide, with about a third of those coming from Montauk, Sarlo said. Last year there were 564 calls across the town for offenses from loud music at bars and restaurants to public urination and litter.

Sarlo said there were “only two commercial noise complaints” and other calls included “everything we handle as an agency from traffic accidents, aided cases, larcenies, criminal mischief, et cetera.”

Partying young adults rocked Montauk last July Fourth when behavior over the holiday weekend got so bad that residents and some business owners demanded officials restore order. Several new laws have gone into effect over the past year.

Across East Hampton Town this holiday weekend, police made 21 arrests including those for DWI, marijuana possession and disorderly conduct.

“No bar fights,” Sarlo added. “Given the volume of people partying out in Montauk, we still have two-thirds of our calls for service in the rest of the town.”

Sarlo said the behavior of the crowds out walking the streets was more compliant and respectful.

Town code violations such as open containers of alcohol, public urination and litter also were much lower than last year, Sarlo said, and the bulk of the code issues revolved around such offenses as violating beach fire regulations.

The “huge” crowd watching fireworks in Montauk was made up mostly of families and remained calm, Sarlo said.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said in a telephone interview Tuesday there were big crowds there as well but no big problems.

“There was really strong attendance on our beaches — more than usual,” Schneiderman said.

Southampton Town Police Lt. Susan Ralph said Tuesday that she did not have exact figures available for the weekend but she said there was a “slight uptick in calls,” which she attributed to people stretching the holiday weekend to four days.

“We had mostly DWIs and disorderly conduct like fighting or refusing to obey an officer,” Ralph said. “But we don’t have as many bars around as we used to in the early ’90s and early 2000.”

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