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Drunk Drivers Beware: Police Ramping Up St. Paddy’s Day Patrols

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Ritchie Rochelle 175x131 L Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — This weekend thousands will gather across Baltimore City to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and police say this year they’re increasing their patrols and establishing more checkpoints.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on the additional police presence.

Baltimore City Police are teaming up with Maryland state troopers and the MTA to make sure those celebrating are safe and not breaking the law.

Baltimore City is filling up with green as thousands get ready to celebrate Irish heritage. But as we saw a year ago, large crowds can create a violent atmosphere.

A man was beaten, robbed and stripped of his clothing on St. Patrick’s Day–one of many reasons why Baltimore City Police are increasing patrols.

“Several hundred uniform Baltimore police officers will be joined by state troopers and Maryland Transportation Authority police officers to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience for all the festivities,” said Col. Garnell Green.

The video is just one example of problems police encountered in 2012. Dispatch recordings illustrate the chaos in the streets.

“Let’s go ya’ll, don’t get on the air just go. I need an ambulance. Unconscious male, stay together. Do not get separated, OK, and try to keep your cars positioned so you can get out of there in a hurry.”

Local bars are stocking up to celebrate St. Patrick, but too much alcohol in big groups can be costly.

Your luck could run out this weekend if you’re caught with an open container in the streets. Police say you may not only be wearing green but paying with it; It’s a $250 fine.

DUI and DWI checkpoints will be in effect to keep drunk drivers off the road.

“A designated driver is not the most sober person in your group. A designated driver is the person in your group who has nothing to drink,” said Lt. Col. A.J. McAndrew.

Police say they aren’t trying to keep anyone from having a good time, they just want it done responsibly.

Police will concentrate their patrols in Fells Point, on Federal Hill and the Inner Harbor.

Police are also enforcing the “move over” law for motorists.

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