For the last several years in Kingston, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have taken a similar tone to homecoming.
Large, unsanctioned street parties in the University District have forced Kingston police to close Aberdeen street and portions of University and Johnson streets.
Revellers have also taken to the rooftops of homes, decks and even sheds.
It’s acts like that that have Kingston police fearing for peoples safety.
Members of the municipal police force have been on the Queen’s University campus this week with their mobile engagement trailer talking to students.
Const. Ash Guthienz says police want to avoid the extreme behaviour of past years.
“Obviously we don’t want people out there drinking and driving,” Guthienz said. “We don’t want people up on top of the roofs down on various streets in the University District.”
WATCH: University District Safety Initiative aimed at curbing unsanctioned street parties (June 2018)
Police will also have a visible presence throughout the weekend in the traditionally problematic areas, Guthienz added.
“There will be additional officers that are in. We’ll also be partnering with our community partners in Kingston bylaw to help do any enforcement where necessary.”
Part of that enforcement includes the municipality’s nuisance party bylaw. The bylaw was passed last year and anyone ticketed has to appear in court and pay a fine.
The University District Safety Initiative, a pilot project involving the city of Kingston, Kingston police and Queen’s University, is also part of the new deterrent toolbox.
It creates a framework for the university to take a range of actions when dealing with students who have been ticketed. It was used for the first time during Homecoming and orientation week last year.
AMS president Miguel Martinez believes the two initiatives are showing promising results.
“During orientation week there was approximately 115 charges that were laid and during homecoming weekend there was about 75 charges that were laid.”
The upcoming weekend will be another test to see if that downward trend continues.