Joining other cities around the county, the City Council this week approved an ordinance that bans so-called "flyer" parties in residential neighborhoods.
The ordinance targets parties where admission is charged to make a profit. The events, also called crew parties and underground parties, are often advertised through massive distribution of flyers.
The ordinance was prompted in part by the 1990 death of the son of Jodi Stout-Ward, a former city traffic commissioner, at a flyer party in Yorba Linda. Stout-Ward told the council that since her son was killed, she has been active in getting such parties outlawed around the county.
"These parties are really very dangerous," Stout-Ward said after Tuesday night's council meeting. "A lot of money is made at them. They are basically unsupervised, with lots of underage kids buying alcohol."
Ty Stout was stabbed to death at such a party on Dec. 8, 1990. According to Stout-Ward, another son had been given a flyer for the party at Esperanza High School. The flyer advertised a beauty contest, mixed drinks and three kegs of beer for a $3 admission charge.
At the party, Stout, 23, became involved in a scuffle with a man who had been hired to provide security. During the scuffle, he was fatally stabbed.
Stout-Ward, who resigned from the Traffic Commission earlier this year, said that she monitored newspapers and police reports to track the number of flyer parties and resulting violent incidents that occurred in the county in the year after her son's death.
"There are about two parties each weekend in each city in the county," Stout-Ward said. "In 1991, there was an average of one death a month in Orange County."
Placentia Police Chief Manuel E. Ortega said the city has about one flyer party a month, which officers usually know about in advance. Although police can break up parties for underage drinking, noise, traffic and overcrowding, until now they could not stop such parties before they started.
"This ordinance is valuable for two reasons," Ortega said. "It lets people know we won't tolerate these parties, and it also gives us another tool in heading off problems."
Police say the parties frequently erupt in fights, shootings and stabbings. Alcohol violations, such as selling drinks to minors, are common.
In a memo to the council, Ortega said that residents complain about the noise and traffic created by the parties. The large number of officers needed to handle such complaints taxes the department's ability to patrol and respond to calls in the rest of the city, Ortega said.