After ‘respectful’ St. Patrick’s Day, ticketing drops

Queen’s, Kingston police say University District Safety Initiative controlled weekend crowds

Students gather on Aberdeen.
Photo: 
The AMS, University, and Kingston Police all reported a more civil St. Patrick’s Day than previous years—citing the University District Safety Initiative (UDSI) as a factor in the decreased number of tickets issued over the weekend.
 
This year, Kingston Police and Kingston By-Law enforcement officers laid 79 Part I Summonses during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and reported fewer numbers of partiers in attendance at unsanctioned street parties.
 
According to Kingston Police, “a total of 118 Provincial Offence Notices were laid to address Liquor Licence Act violations and other offences” during the 2018 St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
 
Street parties this year were contained to Aberdeen Street, which was closed to traffic for several hours on Sunday, allowing other streets throughout the University District to remain accessible to emergency vehicles and the public. 
 
This was the first St. Patrick’s Day weekend affected by the UDSI and the Nuisance Party By-Law. 
 
However, it’s uncertain whether these protocols had a direct influence on the number of tickets issued.
 
In a Media Release on Mar. 18,  Kingston Police stated that “City of Kingston Nuisance Party Bylaw and University District Safety Initiative played a role in curbing St. Patrick’s Day partying.”
 
In accordance with the UDSI, individuals found violating the Liquor License Act and by-law offences were issued a summons to appear in court, as opposed to simply being issued a ticket that can be paid online.
 
The University echoed praise for the UDSI. 
 
“I’m pleased to say that the number of offense notices issued by Kingston Police are lower than last year before the UDSI was introduced,” Todd C. Zimmerman, director of campus security & emergency Services, said in an email to The Journal.
 
Zimmerman pointed out there were still numerous incidents of “inappropriate behaviour,” including students sent to KGH and the Campus Observation Room on account of injuries and alcohol intoxication.  
 
As well, there was “needless damage” in residence buildings, such as “broken exit signs and ceiling tiles,” and the misuse of Blue Light emergency phone activations, which takes “emergency responders away from actual emergencies.”
 
Zimmerman explained the UDSI has a three-pronged approach to increasing safety within the University District, describing the main areas as education, engineering, and enforcement.
 
Education encompasses health promotion, harm mitigation, good citizenship, and awareness of the “impacts and consequences of behaviours.” 
 
“It’s an area all of our campus and community partners have taken a roll [sic] in,” Zimmerman said.
 
“There are too many factors to make a definitive correlation, but certainly the general sense is the UDSI and Nuisance Bylaw had a positive impact in encouraging safer behaviour.”
 
The AMS believes “this St. Patrick’s Day was more respectable than previous years.” However, they were hesitant to make the connection between the UDSI and the number of tickets issued over the weekend. 
 
“There has been a decrease in tickets issued as compared to last year. However, this number fluctuates year by year and we don’t want to make assumptions,” said Søren Christianson, municipal affairs commissioner for the AMS in an email to The Journal.
 
Students and community stakeholders will have the opportunity to evaluate the UDSI at the Community Development Summit, to be hosted by the AMS on April 6. 
 
The AMS continues to encourage students to be “safe and respectful during large unsanctioned events.”

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