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State Patty's Day Weekend Sees Sharp Decrease in Crime

by on February 28, 2019 4:52 PM

State Patty's Day weekend 2019 had a significant decline over last year in reported crimes, arrests and calls for police service, resulting in the lowest amount of crime on record for the Penn State student-created drinking holiday.

The weekend of Feb. 22-24 saw 121 reported crimes, down 34 percent from 183 in 2018 and well below the 381 when the weekend was at its height in 2011, according to preliminary figures released Thursday by State College and Penn State Police.

Those reported crimes resulted in 61 arrests, down 62 percent from 160 in 2018 and 80 percent from the 2011 peak,when 309 arrests were made.

Police received 315 total calls for service, a decrease from 471 last year and 647 in 2011. The only area where crime numbers increased was in DUI arrests, with three — one more than 2018 but the second lowest since at least 2011.

Since 2011, crime numbers decreased steadily during State Patty's Day weekend until 2016, which saw an uptick before going on an even sharper decline the past three years.

Centre LifeLink EMS also saw a decrease in activity this year, responding to 34 calls, down from 50 in 2018 and 95 in 2017. This year and last more than 75 percent of EMS calls were alcohol-related, while in 2017 about one-third were alcohol-related.

State College and Penn State police were joined on weekend patrols by officers from Ferguson Township, Patton Township, Pennsylvania State Police and Liquor Control Enforcement.

The university and borough have tried a number of measures over the years to curb the problems associated with State Patty's Day, including paying bars to close. While that practice has been long since abandoned, university and borough officials have in recent years asked downtown bars to limit their hours of operation, specials and themes and otherwise discourage rowdy behavior. Most seem to have complied.

Police have also worked with downtown apartment management to patrol buildings and have advised tenants of steps to take to avoid trouble and be good neighbors. Penn State limits the number of overnight guests allowed in dorms over the weekend, and fraternities and sororities have agreed not to host socials.

"The State College Police Department appreciates the outstanding cooperation received by both town and gown partners in helping reduce the impact this event has on our community," a statement from the department said.

State Patty's Day crime data from the past nine years:

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