Police said the Penn State homecoming football game Saturday was the busiest of the year for them, but that the crime statistics weren’t unusual for such a high-profile game.
State College police on Monday released crime numbers for the weekend, showing officers responded to 197 calls from 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Sunday.
Police issued 63 non-traffic citations, most of them for underage drinking and public drunkenness, responded to 21 alcohol-related calls that required medical assistance and arrested one person for driving under the influence.
Those numbers are up from the first home football weekend of the year in September. Police issued more non-traffic citations (67) that weekend, but responded to fewer calls (180) and fewer alcohol-fueled incidents that required medical attention (eight).
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State College police did respond to several serious crimes, including three cases that involved non-DUI felonies and two that involved non-DUI misdemeanors, according to the department’s statistics.
Kelly Aston, State College community relations officer, said Monday that crime numbers for the weekend were in line with what she would expect from a high-profile football game.
Penn State Police Chief Tyrone Parham echoed that sentiment.
"We certainly were busy, but it was typical for a night game and for the size of the crowd,” Parham said in a statement released by the university. “It was comparable to other games of this magnitude.”
Parham said alcohol-related cases were the biggest challenge of the day for university police, although Penn State did not release crime statistics Monday.
"By late afternoon we had quite a few people who had to go to the hospital for overconsumption of alcohol," he said.
Penn State police also responded to at least a half-dozen calls related to fighting or potential fights inside Beaver Stadium.
“These were random incidents linked to alcohol, but apparently not linked to team rivalries,” Parham said.
He referenced one incident in particular in which police used pepper spray to subdue a man wearing a Michigan shirt after he allegedly struck an usher, then became physical with officers. A photo of the incident made the rounds Monday on Internet messages boards and blogs.
"Alcohol was most definitely a factor in that situation," Parham said.