St. Patrick’s Day BASH Stats Up Across The Board
Waterloo Region, Ontario – On March 17, 2019, the Waterloo Regional Police Service, along with our community partners, were deployed to the area of Ezra Avenue in Waterloo in relation to an unsanctioned St. Patrick’s Day street gathering.
A peak attendance estimate has been set at 33,000. This estimate is based on the attendance in the Ezra Avenue corridor during the day’s busiest time and is not a reflection of the total attendance for the day.
Preliminary results indicate that Waterloo Regional Police responded to 205 calls for service and generated 809 occurrences related to the St. Patrick’s Day gathering. Officers laid 514 charges for Liquor Licence Act (376), Highway Traffic Act (110), By-Law (16), Criminal Code (6), Trespass to Property Act (2), Cannabis Act (2), Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (1) and Other (1) offences. Eighteen individuals were arrested.
Last year, the Waterloo Regional Police Service laid 495 charges.
The Criminal Code charges include Assault, Mischief, Resist Arrest and Impaired related offences.
“While this unsanctioned event started years ago with local University students gathering to celebrate the end of an academic year, it has grown into unlawful and unsafe gatherings that take place on St. Patrick’s Day and during Homecoming,” said Bryan Larkin, Chief of Police. “Each year we remain concerned for public safety, but this year the density of the crowd was more significant than ever and causes us even greater concern. As we move forward, we will continue to meet with our community partners and members of the joint taskforce to find alternatives to this unlawful and extremely dangerous gathering.”
Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services saw an increased demand for service throughout the event. A total of 80 calls were received, which resulted in 52 patients being transported by ambulance to local hospitals. A total of 11 additional paramedic crews were added and designated to the Ezra Avenue area.
“The volume of patients and transports put significant pressure on our resources, as well as our local hospitals,” said Stephen VanValkenburg, Chief of Paramedic Services. “This event continues to be a significant public safety risk for the community and those involved in responding to the unsanctioned gathering.”
Grand River Hospital received a total of 59 visits to its emergency department in relation to St. Patrick’s Day event. Most of the patients admitted required treatment for the over consumption of alcohol, head injuries, lacerations, falls and fractures. St. Mary’s General Hospital received 19 patients from the Ezra Avenue area between 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on that day.
City of Waterloo By-Law Enforcement Services responded to a total of 171 calls for incidents related to noise and public nuisance, resulting in 25 charges being laid. A total of 700 parking/traffic fines were issued and 35 vehicles towed. A total of three residences were cleared due to large crowds. Lot Maintenance Orders were issued to 17 properties.
Waterloo Fire Rescue Services responded to 27 calls for service.
Wilfrid Laurier University’s Special Constable Service issued 127 charges for Trespass to Property Act (85), Liquor Licence Act (31), and By-Law (11) offences.
University of Waterloo Police Services issued nine alcohol-related tickets.
A multi-agency task force was initiated in 2018 to examine large unsanctioned public events and to find solutions to this growing issues. Members of the public are encouraged to have their say by taking part in a brief survey: https://www.engagewr.ca/public-gatherings.
The Waterloo Regional Police Service would like to thank all community partners who have worked together over the past year to ensure public safety during this unlawful event. This includes the City of Waterloo, The Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services, Waterloo Fire Rescue Service, Wilfrid Laurier University, the Wilfrid Laurier University Student’s Union, the University of Waterloo and the University of Waterloo Federation of Students.