Kingston Police report: Over 380 charges laid during St. Patrick’s Day 2023 revelry

Party-goers fill Aberdeen Street during St. Patrick’s Day weekend 2023. Image via Kingston Police.

Kingston Police laid over 380 charges across the two days of St. Patrick’s Day parties in the University District from Friday, Mar. 16 to Saturday, Mar. 17, 2023.

According to a report published in advance of the Kingston Police Services Board meeting scheduled for Thursday, Mar. 23, 2023, outlining Kingston Police enforcement and activity for St. Patrick’s Day 2023, a total of 386 charges were laid on those two dates. The events saw a large police contingent set up by Kingston Police to carry out enforcement throughout the weekend. This included officers from Belleville, Gananoque, Brockville, and Smiths Falls police services, as well as from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Acting Police Chief Scott Fraser detailed in the report. Additionally, as previously reported, Kingston Police were able to obtain clearance from Transport Canada to restrict airspace in the area of the University District, in an attempt to cease drone activity and interference observed at such events in previous years. This was in addition to intensive planning and preparation for the revelry associated with St. Patrick’s Day and student parties by Kingston Police and City of Kingston Bylaw Enforcement.

“On both days the operation was carried out under the Incident Command Model utilizing a significant number of Kingston Police sworn and civilian personnel,” the report states, noting that this included offers from the above police services, as well as “a full 52 member Public Order Unit,” from the OPP.

“Twelve members of the OPP Police Liaison Team were utilized (along with members of the Kingston Police CORE Unit) in the days leading up to the event, as well as on the Friday and Saturday,” Fraser reports. In the days prior to the Friday and Saturday events, police engaged with students in the University District as part of an education campaign, informing area residents of the Nuisance Party Bylaw and associated financial penalties, as well as of the laws around alcohol consumption.

On Friday, Mar. 17, 2023, a total of 91 sworn officers, 11 special constables, and 18 civilian staff were deployed. This was in addition to the OPP Police Liaison Team, according to the report.

Noting the rainfall on that date, the report notes that the day “remained uneventful” until around 1:30 to 1:45 p.m., when “crowds started to gather.” According to the report, “the crowd swelled quickly and, in an organized fashion, the students lined each side of the full length of Aberdeen Street from Johnston Street to Earl Street, creating a path in the middle which facilitated the runway.” This was to facilitate an event promoted on ‘Canadian Party Life’ social media accounts called a “Ginger Run,” with ‘ginger’ referring to redheaded people.

“This was a coordinated effort advertised to occur at 2:00 pm and this movement happened in about three minutes,” the report says, noting that the event was expected to occur in as many as six university towns across Ontario.

As Police Liaison Teams engaged with those in the crowd and other officers on the ground were “actively enforcing applicable laws,” the crowd “slowly but steadily dispersed” and was gone within 40 minutes, the report states.

“For the most part, the crowd remained in a celebratory mood and no major incidents occurred. No injuries were reported or observed. The streets in the University District stayed free of gatherings and no overt police response, other than continued patrols and enforcement, was necessary.”

By around 7 p.m., the Incident Command model was deactivated, with “a contingent of officers staying on shift to help with anticipated calls for serviced related to the fall out,” the report notes, adding that the University District was “quite busy with noise complaints, large house parties and pedestrian movement related to bar crowds/closing.”

In total on the Friday, four people were arrested in relation to the events, three of whom were arrested for public intoxication, and the fourth person for dangerous driving. The latter incident occurred when “a student-aged male” was driving around the Aberdeen Street/Johnson Street area with people hanging off the side of his vehicle. The report notes that the incident involved alcohol, however, while the driver was initially arrested for impaired driving, alcohol level screenings showed the driver was “in the warning range.” Instead, he was charged under the Criminal Code of Canada for dangerous driving, stunt driving, failing to comply with the direction of an officer, and being a novice driver with a blood alcohol level over zero. The driver also received provincial offences charges, and his vehicle was impounded for seven days.

People hang off the side of a vehicle in the University District on Friday, Mar. 17, 2023. Image via Kingston Police 2023 St. Patrick’s Day report.

Complete enforcement statistics for Friday, Mar. 17, 2023, including for the above dangerous driving incident, involved:

  • 136 Liquor Licence and Control Act charges
  • One charge under the Criminal Code
  • Two charges under the Highway Traffic Act
  • Three Provincial Offences Act violation

In comparison, on the first day of revelry in 2022, 51 charges were laid under the Liquor Licence and Control Act, and one Administrative Monetary Penalty (AMP) charge was laid for amplification of sound.

The following day, Saturday, Mar. 18, 2023, a total of 91 sworn members, 11 Special Constables, and 19 civilian staff were deployed, in addition to the Police Liaison Team contingent. The morning began like the one before it, with “some pedestrian traffic and various noise complaints in the district.” With 15 minutes notice, the Queen’s Party Life social media accounts called for a gathering on Aberdeen Street at 1 p.m.

“The crowd grew steadily and was considerably larger than Friday. A large gathering congregated on Aberdeen Street at William Street spanning in each direction, creeping nearly the full length of Aberdeen Street,” the report reads.

A crowd swells to fill Aberdeen Street during St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Image via Kingston Police St. Patrick’s Day 2023 report.

“It’s estimated the crowd was approximately 4,000 strong,” it states. This crowd size is on par with those seen the year prior.

As a “measured, patient, and strategic police response was implemented,” a nuisance party was finally declared. Following that, bylaw and police officers “continued strict enforcement,” and the crowd quickly dispersed “without any incident.”

A muddy street and sidewalks, debris, and garbage were all that remained within hours of the crowd on Aberdeen Street reaching approximately 4,000 people before dispersing. Image via Kingston Police St. Patrick’s Day 2023 report.

However, the report notes, there were instances of projectiles being thrown, including the detonation of a green smoke bomb which was thrown into the crowd.

Green smoke plumes fill the air during St. Patrick’s Day gatherings on Saturday, Mar. 18, 2023. Image via Kingston Police St. Patrick’s Day 2023 report.

“On each day, once the large gatherings were dispersed or otherwise dissipated, a contingent of officers were deployed in vehicles to support the regular patrol shift with call volume and incidents related to the University District,” the report states.

According to the report, complete enforcement statistics for the second day included:

  • 231 charges under the Liquor Licence and Control Act
  • Three charges under the Highway Traffic Act
  • Five AMPs

Additionally, five people were arrested for being intoxicated in a public place, two of whom were enrolled at Queen’s University, the report details.

A complete breakdown of police enforcement across both days includes:

  • 367 charges under the Liquor Licence and Control Act
  • Five charges under the Highway Traffic Act
  • Five AMPs
  • Eight arrests for public intoxication
  • One arrest under the Criminal Code

According to the report, the costs associated with these events have yet to be calculated.

“As such, the full and accurate tabulation of expenses is not yet available,” it states.

It should be noted that expenses related to St. Patrick’s Day in 2022 contributed to the Kingston Police budget deficit that occurred that year, with $83,000 in overtime alone incurred.

Kingstonist reached out to the City of Kingston to determine fines laid by bylaw enforcement at the University District St. Patrick’s Day 2023 event, but response was not received by time of publication.

One thought on “Kingston Police report: Over 380 charges laid during St. Patrick’s Day 2023 revelry

  • It is more than disappointing to recognize that instead of demonstrating appreciation and respect for the historic university, so many of these students have no sense of responsibility and privilege to think it acceptable to represent their institution with unacceptable, inappropriate behaviour. It says much about their upbringing and the degeneration of our society; it is not hijincks or simple exuberance. How great it would be if one year student organizations channelled their efforts to civilized actions, perhaps involving the nearby residents, and feel good about being respected instead of being seen in the city and outside as the worst examples of their age.

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