Twelve people were arrested and 462 charges were laid in relation to Wilfrid Laurier homecoming on Saturday, Waterloo Regional Police said Monday.
A good portion of those charges were laid in the area around Ezra Avenue and involved alcohol-related incidents.
As many as 14,000 people were in the Ezra Avenue area Saturday during the peak of an unsanctioned Laurier homecoming party, police estimated.
Police closed Ezra Avenue early Saturday afternoon for more than five hours as they attempted to deal with the situation.
“As the Homecoming crowd continues to grow each year, the unsanctioned street event causes a great public safety concern to our entire community,” said Waterloo police chief Bryan Larkin. “Not only is it a significant drain on emergency resources, it also brings considerable safety risks to those in attendance.”
Larkin said that he would meet with local officials to discuss how to deal with similar events going forward as Ezra Avenue has also become infamous for its St. Patrick’s Day party.
“As we move forward, we will continue meeting with our community partners to discuss how we work to end such unlawful, unsafe and unsanctioned gatherings,” he explained.
In addition to the police charges, local by-law officers also laid 40 charges for offences ranging from public urination to noise and property standard offences. They also had 37 cars towed and handed out tickets for 31 traffic/parking offences.
Police were not alone in having to deal with the large homecoming presence.
Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services responded to 36 calls for service in the University district between 10 a.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday. They transported 20 patients to hospital as six of those were listed in serious or critical condition.
The two local hospitals, Grand River and St. Mary’s, combined to see 37 patients in relation to the annual event.
Firefighters also responded to a total of 35 homecoming related calls in a 24-hour period from 7 a.m Saturday. Six of the calls were for elevator rescues, eight were false alarms, 12 medical, and nine dangerous conditions.