Graph courtesy of APD
Note, for instance, the decrease in arrests for "noise" vs citations issued this year vs last. But an increase in "nuisance" tickets, a slighter higher level of response/sanction to a party.
A cop in the field has a fair amount of latitude in deciding to arrest (cuff hands behind back, throw -- err, gently place -- in the back of a cruiser and bring to the station for booking) or simply issue a $300 ticket.
If the perps are cooperative they only get a warning, or civil infraction ticket; if not they get arrested.
Word has gotten out about noise/nuisance bylaw enforcement, and the kids are starting to get the message.
According to UMPD Chief John Horvath:
"UMPD dedicated more officers to supporting APD with off campus issues in spring 2013. The two departments have worked together for a long time and there are good relationships built, while new ones are forming. It is my intention to continue to work with APD, Chief Livingstone and the Amherst & Hadley communities to support them when needed, while respecting the jurisdictional boundaries that are established."
UMPD Mounted Patrol stationed on Phillips Street April 5th
I also asked APD Chief Scott Livingstone if this past spring seemed better controled than last spring because of a united crackdown:
" We know that the weekends have been quieter than past years, because of enforcement, assistance from UMPD and MSP, and the cooler weather…I also think the continued messaging from Enku Gelaye's office helped as well."
This spring UMass officials issued stern messages to students and their parents warning about the consequences of bad behavior. They also instituted "Walk This Way", where a legion of volunteers set up at high traffic areas during the late night to redirect revelers away from residential neighborhoods.
Amherst Select Board Chair Stephanie O'Keeffe in the dead of night mid-April
Chief Livingstone agrees enforcement is working, but it also comes at a high cost:
"We can put an end to much of the bad behavior with enforcement, but not all the bad behavior. Problem is, it cost a lot of money in overtime cost, and my cops get tired and burned out, and that worries me…Tired cops and stressful situations are a bad combination…"
According to a prominent longtime local landlord (whose property once made my "Party House of the Weekend") this past spring was "as under control as any I can recall."
Yes, of course the "Blarney Blowout" stands as a notable exception. But perhaps -- coming in the early spring -- it acted as a wake up call, setting off a "we're-not-going-to-take-this-anymore" response.
A kind of high water mark for rowdy behavior that, like Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, represents a dramatic example of a turning point ... the beginning of the end.