While photos paint the all-too-familiar picture of students flooding Aberdeen Street, armed with alcoholic beverages and – this year – fireworks, local authorities say the 2019 St. Patrick’s Day festivities in the University District were not as disruptive as those that took place in the recent past.
Kingston Police credited the Nuisance Party Bylaw and University District Safety Initiative with playing a role in “curbing St. Patrick’s Day partying.”
“Over this past weekend, a special deployment of officers was assigned to duties within the University District, including mobile and foot patrol to monitor and address disruptive behaviour,” Kingston Police said in a press release on Monday, Mar. 18, 2019.
“In recent years the Kingston Police have faced increasing numbers of people attending unsanctioned St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the University District, with unruly individuals fuelled with alcohol placing themselves and the public at risk. The role of the Kingston Police has consistently been to ensure public safety and crowd control during these events.”
Police said they observed fewer numbers of partiers in attendance to the parties, which, commonly swell out of residences and onto lawns and roadways in the University District. As part of the University District Safety Initiative, individuals found in contravention of Liquor Licence Act and by-law offences were issued a summons to appear in court. In total the Kingston Police, along with Kingston By-Law enforcement officers, laid 79 Part I Summonses.
“Having to actually appear in court before a justice of the peace to be held accountable for violations instead of just being able to pay for a ticket online appears to have helped to curb the overall numbers observed over the weekend,” Kingston Police said.
During last year’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend, a total of 118 Provincial Offence Notices were laid to address Liquor Licence Act violations and other offences, according to Kingston Police – a total of 39 more than were laid this year.
Similarly, Frontenac Paramedic Services (FPS) agreed they had “a few less calls in the Queen’s University Area” compared to the same weekend in 2018.
“The call volume quieted down significantly once Kingston Police cleared the streets,” said Marco Smits, communications officer for Frontenac Paramedic Services.
“We had an extra crew on the road all day and night on Saturday and Sunday because we were not 100 per cent sure when the main party was going to take place, even though we expected it to be Sunday. We wanted to be ready for all scenarios.”
Smits said FPS responded to a call on the afternoon of Sunday, Mar. 17, 2019 where a 19-year-old female had sustained minor injuries after being hit by another individual falling off a roof on Aberdeen Street.
Kingston Police pointed to the University District Safety Initiative, as well as the Nuisance Party By-Law, with having the desired effect on reducing the disruption to the public, as well as the increased safety of students and party-goers.