Kingston Police prepare for Homecoming weekend

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Strategy for maintaining order will remain the same as past years, says Koopman

Keeping the streets and sidewalks clear for other emergency services during Homecoming is the top priority for Kingston Police.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

As Queen’s gears up for Homecoming, so are the Kingston Police (KP), who hope that tickets issued and arrests made during the weekend continue to decline this year. 

Since 2008, the police have seen a “qualitative and quantitative” reduction in calls for service along with the number of tickets and arrests, KP media spokesman Steve Koopman said.

“Almost across the board, those have reduced over the last few years and it would be fantastic it that would continue the trend,” he said.

Koopman said the police strategy for maintaining order during Homecoming weekend will remain the same as past years. Additional officers will be deployed or will be on stand by for Friday and Saturday evening.

“Students or visitors should expect that if they are committing any offences or infractions or crime that we will enforce those,” he said.

“At the same time, it’s not our priority. [Our priority] is the safety of the public and everyone that would be involved in and around the homecoming area and the university district this weekend.”

163 Homecoming-related tickets were issued last year — most of which in relation to the Liquor Licence Act — during Homecoming weekend. In 2013, which had two Homecoming weekends, 153 tickets were issued across both weekends. 

The KP made 24 arrests during last year’s Homecoming weekend — most of which were also in relation to the Liquor Licence Act, specifically public intoxication — while they made 20 arrests in 2013.

The 2013 Homecoming weekends — which took place over Oct. 4 to 5 and Oct. 18 to 19 — were the first to take place since 2008. The University imposed a two-year ban on Homecoming that year following a Homecoming which saw 138 arrests. The ban followed several years of rowdy Homecoming weekends, including one in 2005 when a car was flipped on Aberdeen St. by party-goers.

The university extended the ban again in 2010. 

The KP will also be installing surveillance cameras around the University District. The cameras, introduced in 2006 by a vote by Kingston City Council, will only be installed for the duration of the weekend, according to Koopman. 

“The main priority for us is obviously public safety and to ensure that everyone enjoys themselves safely and responsibly, and that we keep our streets and sidewalks clear not only for regular traffic but also for other emergency services,” he said.

Koopman added that the police is “only one piece of the puzzle” in making Homecoming go smoothly. 

KP’s been in contact with all other key stakeholders — including Kingston General Hospital, Queen’s administration, the AMS municipal affairs commissioner and Queen’s Campus observation room (COR) — to ensure that everyone who plans to celebrate does so responsibly, he said.

The University District experienced large street parties during Frosh Week in September. During that week, the police reported that party-goers had thrown bottles at police cruisers and had surrounded and shaken a car with the driver inside.

Koopman said he hopes that those incidents were only “a blip on the radar” and they won’t affect how they approach this weekend.

Corrections

October 23, 2015
Party-goers flipped a car on Homecoming weekend in 2005, not in 2008.

The Journal regrets the error.

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