UNIVERSITY PARK – More in-depth statistics on State Patty’s Day 2014 show declining crime and emergency room statistics, signaling that the drinking event is fading.
Shortly after the student-organized holiday March 1, campus and State College authorities reported declines in arrests, citations and alcohol-related emergency room visits. When compared with statistics from 2011 — when some of the primary indicators were the highest since the event’s 2007 inception — the latest figures show that State Patty’s Day has been steadily falling out of favor with revelers looking to recklessly consume alcohol.
From Feb. 28 to March 2, police logged 102 arrests and citations — a 58 percent drop from 244 arrests/citations in 2013 — according to preliminary data from four agencies: State College Police Department, Penn State University Police Department, Centre County Alcohol Task Force and the borough’s Department of Ordinance Enforcement & Public Health. Compared to 2011, when arrests/citations were at 412, the 2014 statistics represented a 75 percent decline. Police made 14 driving under the influence arrests in 2014 as well as in 2013, a 52 percent decline from the 29 arrests that occurred in 2011.
Overall in 2014, State College and University police report a total of 135 crime and ordinance violations, a 47 percent decrease from the 254 reports received in 2013. Compared to the 367 reports in 2011, the 2014 statistics represent a 63 percent decline.
Staff at Mount Nittany Medical Center treated 34 alcohol-related cases over State Patty’s Day weekend, a 32 percent decline from the 50 in 2013, and also report lower blood-alcohol content levels for patients.
As in years past, a task force consisting of University and community representatives spearheaded multiple initiatives to create a safer campus and downtown over the weekend. Chief among the strategies was a stipend paid to 34 downtown establishments agreeing to forgo the serving and selling of alcohol; five area beer distributors also accepted stipends. Also on March 1, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board agreed to close its Wine and Spirit Stores in the Centre Region. In addition, the Penn State Interfraternity Council banned social functions over the weekend.
The State Day of Service, a student-led volunteer project, mobilized 540 students who volunteered more than 1,000 hours with 31 agencies in the community over the weekend.
For 2015, campus and community leaders will be focused on organizing a February festival aimed at attracting a diverse audience to downtown State College.