No crime increase during St. Pat’s
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 02:03
Although warm temperatures may have encouraged a large number of students to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day outside on Saturday, Newark and university police said the frequency of crimes committed was similar to previous holidays.
Newark police spokesman Lt. Mark Farrall said officers primarily responded to calls regarding noise violations and alcohol-related offenses.
“There were multiple loud music complaints and multiple order maintenance issues,” Farrall said.
He said there are normally about seven patrol officers on shift during weekends, but there were extra patrols on Saturday.
“We tried to be both proactive and reactive,” Farrall said.
He also said officers warned residents who were playing loud music at their homes that they may face a noise complaint He said officers attempted to locate the owners of residences to inform them that they needed to quiet their music before 9 p.m. or risk facing fines if police returned to issue a citation.
“We’d go knock on the doors and tell them ‘Hey you’re a noise violation right now,’” he said. “Then we’d check back later.”
University police Chief Patrick Ogden said his department responded to 15 incidents between noon on Friday and midnight on Sunday. He said underage consumption was the most frequent offense.
Ogden said Newark and university officers collaborated during the St. Patrick’s Day celebration period and added a few officers to the patrol shift. However, he said officers were not actively seeking an increased number of arrests between Friday afternoon and Saturday night.
“We were not looking to make additional arrests,” Ogden said. “Our goal, as always, was to keep our students and community safe.”
Farrall said Newark police officers primarily focused on the business district, in addition to residential areas, but employees at local bars didn’t notify police of many incidents during the day.
“We had arrests for fake I.D.’s, but no significant fights or anything like that,” he said.
Russ Wiedenmann, general manager of Grotto Pizza, said the restaurant’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration also required several precautionary measures to maintain safety standards, which helped deter dangerous situations.
“We did have a lot more security working and on a lot earlier than usual,” Wiedenmann said.
He said he had the same amount of security working throughout Saturday that he would on a normal busy night, but staffers were working longer shifts.
Wiedenmann also said employees paid close attention to the number of people on the bar’s patio at one time. He said under city laws, the patio can only be used as a spot for people to eat, and there must be a seat for each person on the patio.
The restaurant’s patio has seats for fewer than 30 people, prompting employees to monitor the number of people who were standing outside the restaurant on the patio.
“There were a lot of people frustrated with that,” he said. “But those are the rules and they’ve been like that for a long time.”