Warning follows October street parties which devolved into violence
After the violent events of the Panda Game afterparty on Russell Avenue this fall, the Ottawa Police Service has issued a warning ahead of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day celebrations taking place in Sandy Hill next week.
A week before the anticipated festivities, the Ottawa Police sent out a notice to Sandy Hill residents. This message overviews the plans that are being put in place to ensure the safety of students and residents throughout this weekend and next. One of these implementations includes the increased presence of the Ottawa Police Service (OPS), Ottawa By-Law and Regulatory Services, and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).
Further, officers are monitoring St. Patrick’s Day activities to ensure “safe and law-abiding behavior.” The department will be placing a special focus on offenses against the Liquor License Act. According to the Ontario government, this prohibits individuals from selling or offering liquor without the authority of a license or permit to sell.
Property owners in Sandy Hill also have the option to allow officers to enforce the Trespass to Property Act in advance. This allows officers to penalize party-goers for spilling into residents’ premises during celebrations.
Finally, the notice concludes with the Ottawa Police providing a reminder to celebrate responsibly by only driving sober. It suggests that those who plan to drink should think about having a designated driver, calling an Uber, taking public transit, or staying overnight.
A long-time Sandy Hill resident and a fourth-year psychology student at the University of Ottawa, Zipporah Spring Reid told the Fulcrum that during the Panda Game, she felt as if the Ottawa Police were “a little useless.”
“They were up and down Somerset Street but that didn’t stop anyone from trashing people’s property and destroying cars,” she said.
Additionally, Reid understands the efforts of the police to reduce harm, however does not recognize how the contents of the notice are effective.
“I just don’t see how they expect to fulfill it. I don’t think it’ll make the students feel safer, I think it’ll just make them sneakier,” she added.
While efforts to acknowledge the dangers posed by another celebration on the scale of Panda Game are appreciated, residents remain unconvinced that they’ll be enough to prevent a repeat of September’s disorder.