City, Kingston Police prepare to respond to second weekend of unsanctioned gatherings
Reports of unsanctioned gatherings in the University District, for the second weekend in a row, have the City of Kingston, Kingston Police and multiple other community partners mobilizing to again diffuse unwanted street parties and other nuisance gatherings, according to a release from the City.
“We’re ready to respond to keep Kingston safe. We are prepared for illegal gatherings and high-risk behaviours like the ones witnessed last weekend,” said Paige Agnew, the City’s Commissioner of Community Services. “We are actively collaborating with law enforcement, first responders and other community partners.”
On Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, Police and City Bylaw Officers responded to multiple reports of gatherings, handing out dozens of provincial offences, administrative monetary penalties and laying several criminal charges. More than 100 partiers risk having permanent police or court records resulting from disruptive gatherings staged over the weekend, with the potential for 59 additional identities to be disclosed publicly under Emergency Order No. 5.
“The Kingston Police have been meeting with our community and policing partners and reviewing the events of the past weekend in preparation for this weekend’s deployment of appropriate resources to keep our community safe,” said Chief of Police Antje McNeely. “Large gatherings have the potential to attract a certain segment of society that will prey on our most vulnerable, and we have seen this firsthand; we will be responding in a proportionate manner, based on behaviours observed. Our underlying message is: Don’t get caught up in crowd mentality, stay safe, and help keep our community safe; it is everyone’s responsibility.”
The City said they will offer updates on any response to illegal gatherings including:
- road closures
- imminent safety risks
- Kingston Transit service disruptions
- nuisance parties
Utilities Kingston also issued a public safety reminder to stay off rooftops, vehicles and trees, and well away from powerlines.
“We are very concerned after photos were shared on social media last weekend, showing party goers standing on rooftops, in close proximity to powerlines,” said Jim Miller, Chief Operating Officer for Utilities Kingston. “Electricity can jump or ‘arc’ to you if you get too close. Stay off rooftops and vehicles, avoid climbing trees and always stay well away from powerlines.”
City updates will be posted on its Twitter feed – which is featured on the front page of the City’s website at www.CityofKingston.ca – and its Facebook page over the weekend, according to the release.
Residents are reminded that the University District Safety Initiative remains in effect through Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. The City said that fines or charges received during the University District Safety Initiative could be retained as a permanent police record and land nuisance partiers in court.