Crime Increases Over Arts Festival Weekend

By Ali Ingersoll

Published 07/14 2014 11:34PM

Updated 07/15 2014 12:19AM

Crime was up 37% over this weekend's festival of the arts.

Police say the number of calls they responded to over the weekend may be misleading. While it is an increase from the 171 incidents they responded to last year, police say it's higher because their actions this were more proactive than reactive.

"Comparing to last year, we actually had more activity this year but we had more self initiated activity," says Lt. Chris Fishel with the State College Police Department.

Some of the statistics from 2013 to 2014 are startling. The number of citations issues for minor laws doubled from 15 to 30 and the number of public drunkenness offenses went from 10, in 2013, to 24 this year.

"It's supposed to be an arts festival, not a party weekend," says Lt. Fishel.

This weekend, from Thursday evening to Sunday morning, SCPD issued 90 citations through collaborative efforts.  Penn State Police offered assistance downtown throughout the weekend.

"I think that the planning worked," says Lt. Fishel on the department's contingency plan for the weekend. "I think the officers did a good job. and I think the community pitched in as normal."

One of the State College residents agrees, saying she believes the lack of incidents was a collective effort.

"Awareness is also good," says Sharon Herlocher, a State College resident who lives downtown along the Festival of the Arts route.  "I think it does keep the students in check for the most part."

Police say while this year was comparable to last, it was not as busy as 2012 or years prior like in the late 1990s.

"Maybe the cycle is starting to die a little as far as the negative behavior goes," says Lt. Fishel.

While the majority of the citations given did see an increase, one area did see a major decrease this year.  State College Police only gave out two DUI citations during the 2014 Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts weekend; last year they gave out six.

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