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State Patty's Day Sees Increase in Arrest Numbers, Decrease in Total Reported Crime

by on March 02, 2018 3:04 PM

State College and Penn State Police on Friday released statistics from the Feb. 23-25 "State Patty's Day" weekend, and while overall arrests and citations were up from last year, the total number of reported crimes and ordinance violations decreased.

"State College saw mostly a decline from a statistical point this year," State College Police Chief John Gardner said in a news release. "However, this event is still a major problem and unwelcome in our community."

The two departments made arrests or issued citations in 160 cases between noon on Friday, Feb. 23 and noon on Sunday, Feb. 25. That's an increase over the 133 in 2017 and 128 in 2016. DUI arrests were down, however, with two this year compared to seven last year.

But the weekend also saw the trend of fewer reports of crimes and violations, with 183 this year, down from 190 in 2017 and 207 in 2016.

"The one category that was up by 20 percent was the number of arrests made and criminal citations issued," State College Police Chief Gardner said. "However, with crime down slightly and arrests up by 20 percent, more persons were identified and charged for the crime(s) they committed."

Police received 471 calls for service, the same as 2017, during the student-created drinking holiday.

Mount Nittany Medical Center had 41 alcohol overdose cases during the weekend, a decrease from 53 in 2017 and 65 in 2016. Centre LifeLink EMS reported earlier this week that it responded to 50 calls, a decline from 95 the prior year. About 80 percent of those calls were alcohol-related, where in 2017 about a third of the calls were alcohol-related.

Gardner said the most successful effort to curb problems with the event.

"An extraordinary amount of time and money has been devoted to trying to put an end to this nonsensical event," Gardner said. "The greatest success we as a town-gown community partnership have had in reducing the negative impacts of this event was when Penn State paid local liquor license establishments to close on the Saturday of State Patty’s Day. That was very successful but also very costly."

In 2013 and 2014 the university paid establishments that served alcohol -- from $2,500 to $7,000 based on occupancy -- to close on the Saturday of State Patty's weekend. Police did see significant drops in activity during those years, as did Mount Nittany Medical Center. In 2014, total crimes reported were 135, the lowest between 2011 and 2018. MNMC also saw its lowest number of alcohol overdoses on a State Patty's Day weekend that year with 33.

The general decline also continued into 2015 -- when bars were open for the weekend once again but Penn State offered an alternative, alcohol-free festival -- before climbing again in 2016. The weekend was at its worst in 2011. That year saw 656 calls for service, 367 crime reports, and 337 arrests, including 20 DUIs.

"The State College Borough and Penn State University will continue to search for the answers that will end this event for our collective safety and well-being," Gardner said.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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