Official statistics of police activity from State Patty’s Day 2013 are scheduled to be released next week, Borough Manager Tom Fountaine said.
The State College Police Department and Penn State Police have been unusually busy throughout the last weekend before spring break, better known as the student-created holiday State Patty’s Day . From 2007 to 2011, the number of calls made to police and the number of arrests made rose steadily.
At the peak of State Patty’s Day mania in 2011, the State College Police Department received 460 calls, and made 234 arrests throughout the weekend.
During the most active hours of State Patty’s weekend 2013, from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Sunday, the State College Police Department fielded 327 calls — 85 less than 2012.
Police also made 138 arrests in 2013, which was 87 less than 2012. Penn State Police reported 59 incidents and made 35 arrests from Friday morning to Sunday morning this year during the holiday.
While the past two years have shown a decrease in police activity during State Patty’s Day, community leaders are not saying mission accomplished quite yet.
“The preliminary data was positive, but it certainly was still a busy day,” Fountaine said. “It is still a problem in the community.”
Student efforts to reduce the profile and attraction of State Patty's Day have been the most encouraging, Fountaine said.
“The thing that has really made a difference in the past few years is the student involvement in addressing the negative impacts of the holiday,” Fountaine said. “Reduction in student involvement in the event has made the biggest difference.”
The dip in the number of alcohol-related crimes and injuries in the last two years has given officials confidence that they are combating the student-created holiday in the right ways.
“We plan to pursue again many of the same initiatives we did last year in response to State Patty’s Day,” Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims said via email. “We will do so in partnership with student leaders and the leadership of various constituencies in the Borough, assuming the event occurs again.”
For State Patty’s Day 2012 and 2013, Penn State Residence Life , with support from the Association of Residence Hall Students , limited the number of out-of-town visitors coming to State College to celebrate the holiday. On-campus residents were only able to open their doors to one guest for each residence hall room.
Since State Patty’s Day was first observed in 2007, Penn State and the State College borough have been working together, through an organization called “The Partnership: Campus and Community United Against Dangerous Drinking ” to quell State Patty’s Day drinking.
The Partnership’s mission is to “educate and support various sectors of the Centre Region as they work to change the Penn State and community culture to reduce the high-risk behavior that can accompany the consumption of alcohol,” according to the organization’s website.
Along with the State College Tavern Association and Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board , The Partnership was instrumental in stopping the flow of alcohol from 34 bars and restaurants located in downtown State College for State Patty’s Day 2013. Each bar received $5,000 to compensate for lost revenue.
While the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has no plans to close bars for State Patty’s Day 2014, it is still an option.
“The Board is willing to consider whatever community leaders might want to propose,“ said Stacy Kriedeman , director of external affairs for the Liquor Control Board. “We collaborate with community leaders, police and elected officials to what they need and how we may be able to help.”