Kingston’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations saw a decrease in calls for service and Liquor Licence Act tickets, along with positive messaging from the AMS.
A March 18 Kingston Police media release showed a city-wide decline in calls for service on St. Patrick’s Day — from 131 in 2014 to 126 this year. A similar decrease — from 59 to 56 — was seen in the downtown and University District zones. Liquor Licence Act tickets decreased from 94 in 2013, to 73 in 2014, to 31 this year.
St. Patrick’s Day-related arrests remained at five, the same as in 2014.
Kingston Police Force Media Relations Officer Steve Koopman estimated that almost 1,000 people were on Aberdeen St. during Tuesday’s mid afternoon. He added that some concerns arose due to noise, overcrowding and students or partygoers on roofs, but that no injuries were reported to the police and no criminal code charges were laid.
“At this point, we’re simply looking at provincial statutes — the Liquor Licence Act or municipal bylaw offences — which are lower on the scale of severity compared to a criminal code charge,” Koopman said.
He said the decrease in the number of tickets could be the result of “the level of cooperation by students or partygoers” or a police priority to create a safe environment and make sure roadways are clear.
“Every time an officer has to write a ticket, that takes time away from maintaining the street and keeping it clear and creating a safe environment for a good five to 10 minutes,” Koopman said.
“The success of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration shouldn’t be measured by the number of tickets written, but by the fact that we are able to keep all roadways and streets clear and safe.”
After a photo of an open beer can in a marked police vehicle was posted on social media, Koopman said, “we felt it prudent just to give an explanation and put some context behind that photo.”
According to the media release, a “normal process” for an offence under the Liquor Licence Act consists of recording information — including the brand of alcohol and volume —after observing the liquid being poured onto the ground.
It goes on to state that an officer may use a vehicle to avoid distraction and access a “hard writing surface”, and that cans are typically disposed of “on scene” or put in the trunk to be disposed of later.
“No known offence under the Liquor Licence Act or other statute was committed by any officer in this situation.
Instead, the officer would have been conducting his/her duties by enforcing the law, seizing evidence and preventing a continuation of the offence,” the release read.
“Members of the Kingston Police conducted themselves with professionalism, restraint and mutual respect during the events on St. Patrick’s Day.”
Municipal Affairs Commissioner Ariel Aguilar said Campus Observation Room (COR) volunteers and dons distributed green cups and granola bars to first years in residence prior to March 17 and the AMS — in partnership with the COR and the Kingston Police — released themed messaging on Facebook and Twitter.
Aguilar said the theme of the content was “it’s not easy feeling green”.
“Just encouraging students to, yes, enjoy the day, but enjoy it and make sure that you enjoy it in a safe way, so you’re making sure that you’re not putting yourself in a dangerous situation and that you’re still having fun,” said Aguilar, ArtSci ’16.
A message to “buddy up” and “bring a friend” for St. Patrick’s Day came out of discussions with the Kingston Police, Aguilar said.
“That was sort of making sure that you’re not putting yourself in a situation where you’re sort of on your own and maybe you don’t know where you are, kind of thing,” he said.
“So, making sure that people are looking out for their friends.”
Simon Friedli, who celebrated on Aberdeen St. Tuesday morning, said it was “surprisingly calm.”
“It was cold at the same time, but I definitely expected it to be a little bit bigger because the weather was not that bad at all,” said Friedli, Comm ’15.
First-year student Melissa Starosta said Aberdeen St. was “really busy” and there were “a lot” of police officers when she was there Tuesday afternoon, but that it wasn’t as fun as she’d expected.
“I guess we were just walking around and it got kind of boring after a while cause we [were] walking in circles up and down Aberdeen,” said Starosta, ArtSci ’18.
“It was crowded … not what I expected, I guess.”
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