MADISON (WKOW) -- Another year, another Mifflin Street Block Party, but many more people ticketed In 2012, as Madison police tried some new tactics.
There has been a lot of talk between city officials and the UW in the past few weeks about how to end Mifflin, after one person was stabbed last year.
A few weeks ahead of the event, Dean of Students Lori Berquam released a video that many students didn't take seriously, and parodied online. So, police took a new approach-- there'd be no designated drinking area, and no open intoxicants in the streets at all.
That's why this year, the majority of arrests have been for open intoxicants, underage drinking and trespassing.
"We were pretty excited to work with the property owners and the residents here, work in partnership with them to help us make this a safe event," says Madison Police Chief Noble Wray.
Residents could post "No Trespassing" signs to keep people in line, which led to many citations. Police and city officials say it worked.
"The crowd sizes are way down from prior years which is a good thing. The number of arrests will of course go up due to the change in police tactics and their zero tolerance approach," says District 4 Alder Mike Verveer.
Plus, they got a little help from the unarmed citizen crime patrollers, The Guardian Angels.
"We carry handcuffs, we make a citizens arrest when we see a serious crime committed. That's why we wear the red berets and the t-shirts, for us to be a crime deterrent so when people see us they think twice," says Keunthi Davis, of the Madison Guardian Angels.
Chief Wray says although compliance improved and attendance was down, he still doesn't like the idea of Mifflin. The department intends to continue pushing to end the event.
Preliminary numbers show that as of 7 p.m. police cited 393 people-- mostly for open containers, underage drinking violations and trespassing. Police plan to release final numbers in the next few days.
City leaders are already getting to work on next year's Mifflin. They'll meet Sunday and Wednesday nights to talk about how things went, and what can change for next year.
MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison police say that so far, the 2012 Mifflin Street Block Party has been better last year.
Police Chief Noble Wray tells 27 News that the department's change in approach to the event has helped. In years past, the party has been hosted by the city: a blocked-off area where attendees could drink openly in the street. Wray says that caused a lot of over consumption, leading to dangerous situations for officers and those involved.
As of 5 p.m., officers have arrested 282 people, citing offenders for open intoxicants, trespassing and underage drinking. That's up from 118 a year ago.
Public Information Officer Joel De Spain says it's a different party than last year, with attendance significantly down. Madison police estimate about 5,000 people attended, down from 20-25,000 last year.
Tonight on 27 News at 10, Jennifer Kliese will have more on this year's Mifflin.
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