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Is Huntington Beach the 'Jersey Shore' of Southern California?

April 3, 2011 | 10:30 am

Huntington Beach

Welcome to Huntington Beach, the "Jersey Shore" of Orange County.

When the sun sets here, a three-block stretch of innocuous-looking stucco buildings morphs from a place where shopkeepers hawk beach towels and surfboards to one where bartenders sling bottles of vodka illuminated by black light and neon.

Bartenders tell tales of throwing naked men out of clubs and breaking up bloody fights. And drunks wander so often into the wrong house looking for a place to sleep that police gave it a term — a "Downtown 459" — named after the state's penal code number for a burglary, since a resident's initial panicked call is because they think someone is trying to rob them.

But the debauchery comes with a price.

Huntington Beach is ranked No. 1 in victims killed and injured in alcohol-involved traffic accidents among cities its size in California. DUI arrests are more than twice the number in Irvine, a college town roughly the same size.

Read the full story: Bar scene gives Huntington Beach both headaches and a hearty revenue boost

RELATED:

Huntington Beach tops California DUI collisions list, new report says

One bar linked to 72 drunk-driving arrests, Huntington Beach police say

Huntington Beach nixes plan to post photos of suspected drunk drivers on Facebook 

-- Nicole Santa Cruz in Huntington Beach

Photo: Huntington Beach Police Officers T. Jackson and R. Gonzales arrest a man on Main Street in February. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

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