Kingston resident says more enforcement is needed at unsanctioned street parties

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A local resident wrote a letter of complaint addressed at the Kingston Police Board Meeting. He says there is a lack of enforcement from police when it comes to unsanctioned street parties – Apr 20, 2018

Long time Kingston resident Don Rogers says he’s fed up when it comes to unsanctioned street parties in the University District and the lack of enforcement by Kingston Police.

Rogers has lived in Kingston since the 1980s. Over the years he’s seen his fair share of unsanctioned street parties at Queen’s University, and he’s fed up.

“There was a bad period during the 1980s, just when we arrived, when there was trouble on University Avenue. Then there was a quiet period during the 1990s. Then it started flaring up again in the early 2000s. It started with a few hundred people on Aberdeen Street. Then people started coming in from out of town,” Rogers says.

From there, he says the parties just got bigger and not only included celebratory days like Homecoming, but St Patrick’s Day as well.  He’s not only blaming the students, but also police. This past St Patrick’s Day he took it upon himself to see what was being done to control the crowds and according to him, what he saw was a lack of enforcement from officers.

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“They did not enforce the law certainly to the degree that they could have. We had officers clumped at the end of the street, not in the midst of the crowds where all the liquour and illegal activities were taking place. Standing around with their hands in their pockets, leaning against the car — watching while all this law breaking goes on,” Rogers says.

He snapped a couple of photos which he then presented at a Police Board meeting on Thursday.

Police Chief Gilles Larochelle responded at the meeting. “We cater to a principle of governance and a model of use of force that we deem appropriate that would incur the lowest level of risk. Some would want us to enter with helmets and bat and forcibly remove them. We are not going to do that.”

READ MORE: City of Kingston drafts nuisance bylaw, public input to follow

According to police, St Patrick’s Day cost the city $56,000 in overtime. Police handed out 118 tickets.  According to Rogers, that number should have been higher.

“If you just say, ‘Oh, you have a bottle of booze; if you dump that out and we won’t give you a ticket,’ that’s not much of a deterrent. That just invites more. That is not my idea of what the chief thinks is appropriate enforcement,” Rogers says.

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Rogers also says the university’s Alma Mater Society should be doing more when it comes to student repercussions. AMS representatives were unavailable for a comment.

To help deal with the out of control house parties, city councillors passed a nuisance by law this past February that would allow officers to charge people for noise pollution, partying on rooftops and causing a disturbance to neighbours.

As for Rogers, he knows students have the right to party — but when it infringes on the local community — that’s an issue he won’t put up with.

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