Reports of crime and ordinance violations during State Patty’s Day weekend this year, when bars in State College served alcohol, were comparable to last year’s numbers, when they didn’t.
That’s something that State College Police Chief Tom King sees as encouraging.
“From my perspective, particularly focusing on law enforcement, the fact that this was the first year in a couple years that we had ... most of the bars open, and we didn’t see any significant change in crime reported or arrests, and actually our overall call volume went down this year compared to last year, is a really good thing,” King said.
State College and Penn State police received a combined 140 reports of crime or ordinance violations, and 88 arrests or citations were made between the two departments, according to numbers provided by King. In 2014, police had 135 reported crimes and ordinance violations, 86 of which resulted in an arrest or citation.
Police responded to a total number of 367 calls, which include responding to incidents like fender benders in parking lots or assisting emergency medical personnel, compared to 393 in 2014. Those numbers are in line with those seen when other big events that draw larger crowds are held locally, like home football games and the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, King said.
Calls from 2015 and 2014 are down greatly from 2011-2013, when numbers of both reported violations and arrests and citations exceeded 300. Call volume eclipsed 650 in 2011 and fell just short of 600 in 2012. Total calls in 2013 were 534.
King described 2015 as a “transition year” for two reasons. Bars reopening was one. Drinking establishments were paid not to serve alcohol in 2013 and 2014, although some did not open or closed early over the weekend, King said.
The Thaw Festival, which debuted this year, was another. The event, which focused on art and performances, drew families and older people to downtown State College as well as college age people over the weekend, King said.
“Compared to other years, it appeared that downtown was being patronized by a wide range of people within the community, which is a really good thing,” King said.