Although approximately 20,000 fewer people attended the Mifflin Street Block Party this year than last, arrests were over ten times as common, according to the Madison Police Department.
About 5,000 people attended this year’s block party with 393 arrests and citations, according to MPD spokesperson Joel DeSpain. In 2011, 20,000 to 25,000 people attended the block party and only 160 were arrested.
The majority of the citations were for open intoxicants, underage drinking, glass containers in the street, trespassing and public urination, according to DeSpain.
Officials said 100 on-foot officers, 30 sheriff deputies, nine mounted patrol and six bike officers were at the event.
According to MPD the increased police presence was much needed considering last year’s violence.
In addition to more police at the event, city Alcohol License Coordinator Mark Woulf said city officials expected there to be more arrests because of the police department’s “zero tolerance approach” this year.
Police and city officials made many changes to this year’s block party, like banning open intoxicants on the street. Despite many public information sessions explaining the new rules, the majority of citations were for carrying alcohol on the street, according to Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4.
A UW-Madison sophomore, who wished to remain anonymous, was cited for carrying beer on Mifflin Street and said he was surprised by the significant police presence.
“I thought it would be ... a little more mellow,” he said while at the event. “Any sign of anything possibly going wrong is an automatic ticket.”
This year, Mifflin residents had the opportunity to sign the House Party Protection Plan, which let residents call police to control their party without fear of being cited as long as it was a legal house party. A legal house party could not have any underage drinking, amplified music or overcrowding.
MPD officer Chanda Dolsen said the majority of Mifflin residents registered their houses with police.
Many landlords also posted “No Trespassing” signs provided by the MPD, according to Dolsen. If any unwanted person was on a property displaing one of these signs, they were arrested for trespassing.
Mifflin street resident Talia Aviani found the registration to be helpful when police removed an unwanted visitor who refused to leave her porch.
“We registered our house with the Madison Police Department, which at first I was worried about, but it’s actually more of a benefit for us ... because if some things get out of control they can just kick everybody out for us,” Aviani said.
Even though police issued more citations last year, city officials were pleased with the safety improvements to this year’s event.
“My personal goal is to make it as safe as possible for everybody, and I think we accomplished that yesterday,” Verveer said.