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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 | Last updated: 9:19pm

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Police resources better served in the Tucson community, not college parties



Editor’s note: An earlier version of this column mistakenly went online attributed to the Daily Wildcat Editorial Board. This view does not represent the views of the editorial board or the Daily Wildcat staff. The error has been corrected.

The massive party at The Seasons apartments this weekend ended up succumbing to the same fate as the “Aussie Party” at the Stone Avenue Standard earlier this semester, as the Tucson Police Department showed up in force to remove people from the complex and shut down the party.

Tucson police used the infamous “ghetto bird” police helicopter as well as showing up with a massive officer presence.

Police also threw tear gas into the party in an attempt to force partiers to disperse.

While giant parties such as this can become extremely dangerous if something goes wrong, like a fire, sending in an army to deal with a bunch of drunken college kids was excessive. How many of our tax dollars go to funding police helicopters? What if that helicopter was used to monitor high-crime neighborhoods instead of shining a massive light into college students’ backyards?

Tucson is hardly a safe city. According to the Tucson Police Department, there were 5,217 property crimes per 100,000 habitants in 2011. Compare this to the FBI figure of 2,908.7 property crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in the United States as a whole.

The same is true of violent crime. According to the FBI, there were 386.3 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2011, as opposed to 629 violent crimes per 100,000 in Tucson.

Kevin Anderson, one of the organizers of the party and a sophomore studying business at Pima Community College, said, “The party was shut down by corporate because of over capacity.”

Anderson also said that, “The police came just as a distress call from my hired security to help crowd control, there were no red tags served on the complex.”

There was a fight outside of the complex in the line to get in, and partygoers eventually began jumping walls and fences in an attempt to get inside. The party technically required a $3 wristband to get in, but scores of people soon began disregarding the requirement. With thousands of people attending and hundreds in line, it became virtually impossible for security at the gate to check that everyone was wearing a wristband.

While the police arrived inside the party only after security alerted them, Tucson Police indicated days before the party that they were aware of the event and that they had a plan in place.
This can only mean that police were standing by near the complex, rather than on duty in other areas of the city where crimes more serious than drunken students climbing fences and walls were occurring.

While it is important for the police to ensure order, and I’m certain that the neighbors of the Seasons Apartments were grateful to the police, this seems like an overreaction. The resources expended on breaking up this party would have better served the community if they had been deployed elsewhere.

—David Weissman is a journalism junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on twitter via @WildcatOpinions .


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