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Police: Call Volume Declines for State Patty's Day Weekend 2012

on February 26, 2012 8:20 PM

They vandalized a downtown elevator, drove the wrong way on Locust Lane, busted windows and broke into a Pugh Street residence, police records show.

People who crossed paths with cops over State Patty's Day weekend logged a range of alleged violations, from underage drinking to public urination and other property damage.

But overall police-call volume declined for the unsanctioned drinking-holiday weekend, officials announced Sunday night.

State College police said they fielded 425 calls, down from 480 for State Patty's weekend 2011. And they handled 25-percent fewer incidents -- 283 in all, down from 377 in 2011, they reported.

According to a news release, arrests and citations made by borough police -- excluding pending investigations -- are down 3.8 percent for this weekend. That total landed at 225, down from 234 in 2011.

"Of those totals, about 20 percent more in 2012 were officer-initiated, which contributed to a larger number of minor citations and less opportunity for incidents to escalate to a more serious level," reads the release, shared by Penn State. "The most common charges included underage drinking (52), open-container violations (42), public drunkenness (25) and public urination (25)."

Preliminary reports show that Penn State campus police, too, saw a decline in incident volume. Their initial data -- excluding pending investigations and citations not yet submitted -- show a 12.5-percent dip in the number of incidents, the university reported.

"Arrests by campus officers decreased by a third, from 107 in 2011 to 71 in 2012," the news release reads.

Penn State reported that 56 percent of arrests made by campus police involved non-Penn State students. Residence information about those caught by State College police was not immediately available Sunday.

But "anecdotal reports (indicate) that the department's activity again this year included many visitors to the area but fewer than last year," the release reads. "In 2011, approximately 60 percent of all arrests made were against non-Penn State students."

The university said current student-driven efforts to undermine State Patty's Day -- started in 2007 by some then-students -- played a big part in helping to tame the occasion. A number of student leaders joined borough police Chief Tom King in lobbying downtown businesses to curtail support for State Patty's Day.

More downtown bars and bottle shops closed early or entirely this time around. At the same time, the university Greek community halted parties for the day. And Penn State tightly limited how many guests could stay in on-campus dorms over the weekend.

King, meanwhile, also encouraged landlords to keep a watchful eye over the apartments. Community and campus groups partnered to provide an expanded offering of alternative volunteer programs, including a sober walk and a Sunday clean-up effort.

By Saturday afternoon, borough police and parking officials estimated that downtown traffic and activity for State Patty's Day may have begun to wane. Weather conditions -- markedly more cold and snowy than in 2011 -- seemed to calm the atmosphere, too, police said.

Here's a look at some police calls that borough authorities shared Sunday afternoon:

  • A driver will be charged with DUI after traveling the wrong way on Locust Lane at 8:29 a.m. Saturday, police said. Preliminarily, borough police estimated that general patrols caught more than 15 motorists for DUI on Saturday.
  • Thirteen people got in an elevator car together, jumped in unison and jammed the elevator, police said. It happened at 2:14 p.m. Saturday at 309 E. Beaver Ave., the Alexander Court building, a police report shows. All 13 people will face criminal charges for damages to the elevator, police said.
  • About 2:35 p.m. Saturday, people were spotted batting beer cans into 300 block of South Atherton Street, police said. Similar incidents were reported elsewhere in the borough.
  • Without looking, a pedestrian walked into traffic shortly after 3:30 p.m. Saturday on the 200 block of East Beaver Avenue, police said. The man, a 20-year-old who is not a Penn State student, was hit by an oncoming Nissan SUV. He was taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, according to a police report. Police said the SUV driver did nothing wrong.
  • An out-of-town visitor, Dominick Petrella, 19, trespassed in an apartment at 140 E. College Ave. at 5 p.m. Saturday, police said. Completely uninvited, Petrella walked into the residence, locked himself in a bathroom and passed out on a toilet, according to a police report. He was arrested for criminal trespass, a felony.
  • A man will be cited for disorderly conduct after he smacked a car and yelled obscenities shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday on the 400 block of East Beaver Avenue, police said. He is believed to be a Penn State student.
  • An intoxicated person fell on some steps and suffered a laceration on his head at 8:53 p.m. Saturday, police said. It happened at 917 S. Allen St. The person was taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center for treatment, according to a police report.
  • Two men were arrested for burglary and other charges after a break-in at 8:53 p.m. Saturday at 301 S. Pugh St., police said. The incident was alcohol-related, according to a police report. A criminal complaint in the matter was not immediately available.
  • A man started a trashcan fire about 9:15 p.m. Saturday at Mount Nittany Medical Center, police said. The man had been taken there earlier for public drunkenness, according to a police report. When he was released, police said, he went into a hospital breezeway, tried to light a cigar and tossed the matches into a trashcan. That's what caused the fire, according to the police report; the man will be cited.
  • Someone punched a doorman in the chest at the Rathskeller, 108 S. Pugh St., at 10:18 p.m. Saturday, police said. It happened after the doorman refused to grant the person admission, according to a police report.
  • A motorist was arrested for DUI at 10:30 p.m. Saturday after tampering with an exit gate at the Fraser Street parking garage, police said.
  • A 30-year-old woman taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center for an alcohol overdose became disorderly there, police said. It happened about 12:35 a.m. Sunday, and the woman attempted to hit the staff, according to a police report. She will be charged with disorderly conduct, police said.

(For earlier reports, including details about alcohol-related cases at Mount Nittany Medical Center, go to this page.)

Many local establishments that remained open over the weekend saw an uptick in business. At the Diner, 126 W. College Ave., the Sunday-morning breakfast scene was similar to that of a Penn State football weekend, workers said.

Saturday night was busy, too, they said -- but with no vomiting and no abandoned checks.

One Diner worker, Penn State senior Mac Frederick, saw 12 people converge on his one-bedroom downtown apartment for the weekend. It's become something of a reunion weekend, though he wants his out-of-town friends to see State College "on a normal weekend," as well, he said.

"It's just as fun then," Frederick said.

He is not such a big State Patty's fan himself, he added. "Not everyone knows it's mostly the out-of-towners who are doing the damage," he said.

As a result, Frederick went on, the drinking holiday gives Penn State a bad name.

And "that's the last thing we need after this last year," he said.

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