Two officers injured, 232 charges laid by WRPS during Waterloo St. Patrick’s Day weekend
The Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) says its officers laid 232 charges and arrested 18 people in connection to the large St. Patrick’s Day street party in Waterloo’s university district.
In a news release Tuesday, WRPS said it responded to almost 500 incidents between 8 a.m. on March 17 and 3 a.m. on March 19.
It said two officers sustained minor injuries when they responded to a report of property damage on Marshall Street.
“It is unfortunate that we continue to see individuals take part in unlawful and unsanctioned gatherings that pose significant safety concerns to the public and to emergency service providers,” said Mark Crowell, WRPS Chief of Police in the news release. “I want to extend my thanks to our members and community partners for the significant planning and preparation that led up to this event to ensure the safety and well-being of the community.”
According to police, highway traffic act violations were the most common infraction, with 96 charges laid.
Liquor Licence Control Act offences were a close second with 92 charges laid, followed by 19 criminal code and Controlled Drugs Substances Act charges and 15 charges classified as “other.”
Data from the Waterloo Regional Police Service breaks down the charges laid in connect to St. Patrick's Day this year. (WRPS)
LAST YEAR'S DATA
Compared to numbers released in 2022, WRPS responded to more incidents last year and laid more charges. However, last year's data from police covered a 70-hour period, whereas this year it covered a 43-hour period.
Last year’s data shows WRPS laid 193 charges, and arrested 22 people with a total of 552 incidents.
Last year’s celebrations saw Liquor Licence and Control Act infractions as the highest offence, with 117 charges laid.
At the time, WRPS Chief of Police Bryan Larkin said, “We are disappointed that, despite encouraging individuals to celebrate responsibly in smaller gatherings or licenced establishments, many opted to gather on the street, forcing road closures. As we move forward, we will continue to work together with our community partners to find alternatives to this unlawful gathering.”
CITY OF WATERLOO BYLAW
The City of Waterloo bylaw team said they had fewer complaints and proactive responses compared to previous years, but equivalent charges were laid at 30.
“We are disappointed that some individuals did choose to participate in an unsanctioned street gathering once again,” said Nicole Papke, director of municipal enforcement for the City of Waterloo. “We are incredibly grateful that the primary goal of public safety was achieved.”
It seems the post-party clean-up did grow this year, with more spaces that required attention.
There was a significant increase in traffic and parking violations, with 916 tickets given out on March 17.
Papke noted these types of events can place a strain on public services, such as hospitals and paramedic services.
For context, this was the first year the city enforced an overnight parking ban in the party area.
The City posted on Friday morning it was banning overnight on-street parking permitted in the MacGregor Albert, Northdale or uptown neighbourhoods.
Overnight on-street parking exemptions will not be allowed in the area bordered by Westmount Road, Columbia Street, Weber Street and Erb Street.
In the City Of Guelph, police and bylaw said they responded to 23 noise complaints Friday through Saturday with just one ticket issued that was for loud music.
Guelph police said nearly a thousand cars went through their ride program, and 12 charges were laid including one arrest for impaired driving.
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