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April 11, 2024

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Local crime spikes during St. Patrick’s Day weekend

While some students look forward to party holidays and special events during the school year to unwind, their weekend fun may be cut short by a citation or arrest.

During Opening, Homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day weekends, both alcohol and disorderly conduct violations contribute to the spike in crime.

There were 136 citations and arrests of liquor laws, disorderly conduct, theft, drug violations and operating a vehicle impaired violations during Opening Weekend 2012. Three-fourths, or 99 total, were alcohol violations.

“It’s [students’] first time away from home and they go crazy; it’s their first taste of freedom,” said Maj. Tony Hetrick, deputy chief of the Bowling Green Police Division, regarding Opening Weekend. “The University tries to keep students busy with events, but we’re still busy.”

Homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day weekends trailed behind at 60 and 64 citations and arrests made respectively. These weekends nearly double an average October weekend, which sees just 39 such citations and arrests.

The biggest problem police face on these weekends is underage drinking, because partying is a big part of these holidays, Hetrick said.

This school year, opening weekend featured 50 citations that were underage violations, compared to just 15 during Homecoming weekend and 14 during St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Citations on these big party weekends can be skewed by a number of factors such as weather and the day they fall on, Hetrick said.

These particularly affected this St. Patrick’s Day compared to last year’s.

“[The temperature] was in the 70s last year and a lot of people were out,” Hetrick said. “[This year] people weren’t on the street and mainly partied at their houses, because it was like 35 degrees and on a Sunday too,” he said, adding that in 2012, St. Patrick’s was on a Saturday.

Typically, most citations occur on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings as well.

“Most people go out on Saturday because people have nothing to do on Sunday,” said junior Terry Welsh. “Friday is more of a laid back day because you have things to do during the day.”

Overall, crime tends to decrease in October and pick back up in March due to the winter months, Hetrick said. This explains why New Year’s Eve has less crime, because it’s cold and most students are out of town, he said.

When holidays occur during the week, such as Halloween 2012, citations and arrests are spread out between the surrounding weekends.

“In general in BG, people don’t party as much during the winter because its colder and no one want to walk to the bars,” said freshman Eden Sharer.

Regardless of the weather, people still make it downtown and “drink and have a good time,” Hetrick said.

In preparation for the big weekends, police keep more staff on duty downtown and patrol party areas such as Troup Avenue, Hetrick said.

The Bowling Green Fire Division will also call in extra employees if it sends two ambulances out at once, said Chief Stephen Meredith.

“Typical runs during move-in weekend are about 30 runs a day because there are so many people in town,” Meredith said. “Older people are going up and down stairs lifting things and injuries happen.”

Aside from those injuries, the main calls the medics respond to are alcohol-related, such as over intoxication, falls from intoxication and assaults, Meredith said.

The police and fire division also take part in joint workshops to make responding to calls easier and safer, he said.

Emergency medical technicians teach police basic medical training and police will tell them what to expect when responding to certain calls, Meredith said.

“We’re just there to make sure people are safe,” Hetrick said.

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