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Laurier homecoming crowd falls to almost a third of 2018’s number: police

Waterloo Regional Police talk to revellers at Laurier's homecoming celebration.
Waterloo Regional Police talk to revellers at Laurier's homecoming celebration. Waterloo Regional Police

The final tallies are in and Waterloo Regional Police are estimating the peak crowd on Ezra Avenue during Saturday’s Laurier homecoming celebration at 4,800.

The number is a far cry from the 2018 celebration, which saw the crowds on Ezra Avenue reach over 14,000 people.

“We believe the diminishing numbers can be attributed to a number of initiatives by Waterloo Regional Police and our community partners,” police spokesperson Cherri Greeno told Global News.

READ MORE: Crowd size down at 2019 Wilfrid Laurier homecoming on Ezra Avenue: police

Among the new initiatives put in place were changes to the football homecoming schedule, which saw Laurier, Waterloo and Guelph all play on Saturday.

In addition, the city of Waterloo put in new bylaw restrictions on noise and parking, while police also introduced pods onto Ezra Avenue.

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Greeno said the pods forced people to move along, contained urinals which cut down on public urination and had platforms to allow officers to see above the crowd.

“Progress was made but there is still work to be done so we will continue meeting with out community partners to seek out improvements,” Greeno said.,

“Really it was a combined effort by Waterloo Regional Police and our community partners.”

Police say that the reduced crowds were also paired with a reduction in the number of charges that were handed out.

WATCH: (Oct. 20, 2018) Kingston police say street party is larger than last year

Kingston Police say street party is larger than last year
Kingston Police say street party is larger than last year

In 2018, there were 382 charges laid, but on Saturday, that number fell to 330.

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Included in that number were charges under the Highway Traffic Act (70), Liquor Licence Act (234), Criminal Code/CDSA (16) as well as bylaw (7) offences.

There were also 17 arrests this year in the homecoming area, including three on Ezra Avenue.

University police also handed out 73 tickets and arrested three people as well.

Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services responded to 38 calls for service in the University district. They transported 27 patients to hospital as five of those were listed in serious or critical condition.

READ MORE: 12 arrested, 462 charges laid during 2018 Laurier homecoming

These numbers were on par with a year earlier, when 36 calls were answered and 20 people were taken to hospital, with six of those being in serious or critical condition.

“Although calls for service in the Ezra corridor trended down slightly this year, call volumes in the homecoming perimeter continue to increase and cause a significant strain on our resources,” Stephen Van Valkenburg, Chief of Paramedic Services, said.in a statement.

The two local hospitals, Grand River and St. Mary’s, combined to see 36 patients in relation to the annual event — just one less than in 2018.

Firefighters also responded to a total of 17 homecoming-related calls this year, around half of what they answered in 2018.

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