I imagine the folks in Old Main have been smiling all morning from the news. Preliminary data from Penn State Police, State College Police and the Centre County Alcohol Task Force revealed a big drop in crime on State Patty’s Day as compared to last year — total crime was down 47 percent and arrests decreased 61 percent.
Initial data from State College & Penn State PD’s plus the Centre County Alcohol TF show total crime down 47% and arrests down 61% this SPD.
— State College Police (@StateCollegePD) March 3, 2014
This marks the third year in a row that police activity has dropped from the previous State Patty’s Day. That’s not to say there wasn’t a lot of green downtown on Saturday, but the crime was more comparable to a typical football weekend than a day of destruction.
There’s a sense of optimism among the haters of the pseudo-holiday that State Patty’s Day may have come and gone at last. State Patty’s has transformed from what it once was into just a regular weekend, the only exception being that most people wore green. There was a noticeable calmness downtown that did not exist during the State Patty’s Days of yesteryears.
There were fewer people downtown, and it seems that paying the bars/liquor stores to close, shutting down fraternity parties, limiting the number of guests in residence halls, and police sending notes to apartment complexes deterred flocks of out-of-towners from coming for the weekend.
Through 8 a.m. Saturday, police reported a 45 percent drop in crime. Only 20 arrests were made all day Friday and into Saturday. The Centre County Alcohol Task Force arrested seven for for driving under the influence of alcohol and one for driving under the influence of marijuana.
On Friday night, State College Police made three DUI arrests, cited three for minor’s law, broke up six fights, and investigated two furnishings. Citations were also issued for Borough noise ordinance violations, public urination, and public drunkenness. One 20-year-old man was charged with burglary, criminal trespass, aggravated indecent assault, and indecent assault after a Penn State student said he entered her room, climbed into bed with her, and touched her sexually
A thorough breakdown of police activity will be released in the coming days, and we’ll be sure to post those when we get them. So for now, let’s think about the future of State Patty’s Day. Penn State administrators have met with Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts leadership to discuss plans for a winter festival next year. The idea behind that is to turn the weekend into one the whole State College community can embrace, not just students.
An arts festival in the middle of winter? Now that’s something I can get behind.