Police departments to increase presence for St. Patrick’s Day
As some students prepare for green beer and a weekend of partying to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, as well as the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament, local law enforcement is preparing for an influx of drinking-related crimes, and experts hope students stay safe and behave responsibly.
“It’s known as a drinking holiday,” East Lansing police Lt. Larry Sparkes said. “We expect that there will be a celebration in the community. … We will be prepared to make sure everyone’s safe — that’s our goal.”
Sparkes said police will have an increased presence as a precaution on Sunday.
Health Education Coordinator Dennis Martell said data shows St. Patrick’s Day isn’t necessarily the highest alcohol-consumption holiday, but people do tend to drink more when celebrating.
“We want people to celebrate,” Martell said. “(And) to continue to respect the community and most MSU students do that.”
He said most students celebrate responsibly, but students can add a layer of protection if they stay with friends who are looking out for them and dress appropriately for the weather.
Comparative cultures and politics sophomore Courtney Hammer said although the cooler weather might impact St. Patrick’s Day at MSU, she feels most students still will drink responsibly and have a good time. She said an increased police presence also might play a factor in responsible celebrations this weekend.
“I think for the most part, people keep it in check,” Hammer said. “People will make smarter decisions about where to do things.”
Sparkes said students who plan to drink outside legally can do so on their own lawn or a friend’s lawn, but should not take alcoholic drinks elsewhere if they are trekking across town.
MSU police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor said no alcohol is allowed on MSU’s campus grounds.
She said students who plan to drink Sunday should be sure to eat, so as not to drink on an empty stomach, leave and return with friends and use taxi cabs or a designated driver, among other things.
He said because more people typically drink on St. Patrick’s Day, it makes sense that more crimes, especially alcohol-related crimes, might happen on the holiday.
McGlothian-Taylor said the chilly temperatures projected for this weekend, in the low 30s, could mean less drinking, partying and even less crime will take place.
During last year’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend, 22 minor in possession charges, seven drunken driving incidents and nine burglaries and larcenies occurred, according to the MSU Clery Crime and Fire Log. A total of 55 crimes were reported on campus.
The same weekend, East Lansing police cited 73 people for open intoxication and 45 people for minor in possession charges. Police arrested 17 people for minor in possession charges and five for drunken driving, according to weekend reports. East Lansing police received 16 calls regarding assaults and 49 regarding party litter violations.