St Patrick’s Day block party stays under control

St.Paddy's Day-Shelby
Ezra Avenue was flooded with almost 5,000 students Sunday afternoon. No serious incidents reported. (Photo by Shelby Blackey)

Despite Ezra Street accumulating approximately 5,000 green clad students who came to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday, Waterloo Regional Police Servicse (WRPS) dealt with a generally peaceful crowd.

This was a slight increase of over the figure in comparison to last year. Public affairs coordinator for WRPS Olaf Heinzel claimed that police took precautions in anticipation for the day.

“There was an extensive police presence throughout the day. Police are there to enforce the law and to assist people in the event that they need assistance in a number of different ways,” Heinzel said.

“They are there to protect all citizens of the community with our laws.” Heinzel shared that the WRPS advertised their plans for St. Patrick’s Day in the weeks before through the media and social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter in order to ensure a good connection between police and students.

Though the police made their presence known, the crowd remained peaceful and cooperative with the police force. Wilfrid Laurier University student Lena Reese took her past experiences from St. Patrick’s Day into account when she and her roommates arrived on Ezra Ave.

“Last year I got a ticket for having an open bottle of alcohol in the streets and it cost me a few hundred dollars,” Reese said. “I definitely didn’t want to get another ticket this year, so I made sure that my roommates and I did all of our drinking in our house before going out. We still had a good time, which is super important.”

Open liquor in the streets is an offense that comes with a fine of approximately $125. With this in mind, students were mindful of drinking their booze on the lawns of their property.

York University student Thomas Jarvie made sure that he was mindful of the laws. “I made sure that if I was going to drink outside, I wasn’t going to go past my buddy’s sidewalk,” Jarvie explained.

“The sidewalk is public property, so I made sure I avoided that no matter how drunk I got.”

There were a few isolated incidents where students received a ticket from the police, however.

“The students were well-behaved, though there are exceptions to every case,” Heinzel said.  “However, considering the size of the number of people who were in that one particular area, things went quite smoothly.”

With this year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration behind them, the WRPS are already looking ahead for the upcoming year, with alcohol education being an ongoing lesson for university students.

Heinzel added that the public reception that the WRPS received via social media in regard to how St. Patrick’s Day was dealt with, among students and the Waterloo community, was generally positive.

“We appreciate for the most part that everyone was well behaved. It’s a party day, and we understand that,” Heinzel concluded. “Also, we appreciate that people were generally cooperative and that the feedback that we were receiving from the students and community has been very positive.”

MULTIMEDIA: check out photo gallery from St. Patrick’s Day. 

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