MIPs lead Welcome Weekend crime, but citations down overall
With more than 20 years of patrolling East Lansing during Welcome Weekend under his belt, East Lansing police Capt. Jeff Murphy said there aren’t many more surprises left in store for him.
What he does find surprising, however, is an overall decrease in the number of alcohol-related citations issued in East Lansing during the students’ first weekend back at school.
“It’s been, this year in particular, less busy,” Murphy said. “There were still a lot of arrests, but it’s more officers initiating and being proactive, and that’s what we want to have happen.”
Although the number of minor in possession, or MIP, incidents have increased slightly since last year, numbers still are low at 52 citations, compared to 2011’s total of 91 citations. Police also saw a small increase in situations where patrons were intoxicated enough to need medical attention.
“It’s quite a feat, drinking to the point of being unable to take care of yourself,” Murphy said. “It’s more than just being stumble-around drunk, it’s a life-threatening intoxication level.”
Murphy said there were many off-campus parties during the weekend, but said the East Lansing Police Department made sure to have officers address issues before they got out of control.
“There were lots of noisy parties, but a big part of it is that when it did get busy, we made sure to have a lot of officers on and address it before it got out of hand,” Murphy said. “Us getting to it early may mean us not giving a ticket and less problems for us … We expect people to be out drinking, and if they make bad decisions, we take care of it when issues come up.”
Murphy said most of the issues came from outside patrons. He said many of the arrests made in East Lansing during Welcome Weekend did not involve MSU students.
“People come from out of town just for Welcome Week, and we know this because we run into these people and they can make more of a problem because they don’t have ties to the community,” he said.
MSU police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor said the department did not have a specific number of citations issued on MSU’s campus during Welcome Weekend currently available, but noted the number of students on campus is one of the main factors in how many citations are issued.
“Weather plays a role in it,” McGlothian-Taylor said. “It also depends on how many students are enrolled and things like that.”
Welcome Week festivities also can prompt a spike in students seeking legal assistance. Matt Franks, the director of communications for ASMSU, MSU’s undergraduate student government, said Welcome Week is one of the busiest times of the year for the organization’s program offering free student legal services.
“ASMSU legal services helps more than 2,000 students a year,” Franks said. “Welcome Week is one of ASMSU’s busiest times, and stresses the importance and value that ASMSU provides.”