Costs to police Waterloo St. Patrick’s Day celebrations increase by $51K, service says

The cost to police St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Waterloo, Ont., this year rose to $318,000, the Waterloo Regional Police Service says.That’s an increase of $51,000 over 2023.It’s also an increase of $31,600 over 2019 when a record number of people — estimated to be 33,000— showed up to attend the unsanctioned street party. A report going before the police services board Wednesday called 2019 the “last significant St. Patrick’s Day event.”The report says at its peak, this year’s unsanctioned gathering saw 9,500 people on Marshall Street. That was up from approximately 8,000 in 2023.But unlike other years, this year’s unsanctioned street party took place on March 16, which was a Saturday and which had a better weather forecast than St. Patrick’s Day.”There were no violent offences reported during the unsanctioned gathering. CCTV cameras and signage were piloted in the area of Marshall Street which may have contributed as a deterrent for violent offences,” the report says.The report notes police laid 238 charges and officers responded to 387 calls for service, of which 71 were from citizens.”The number of charges laid are comparative to the 2023 St. Patrick’s Day operations, however calls for service decreased by 110, including citizen generated calls for service,” the report says.The police services board is set to meet virtually at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

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