Posted by: Opey | May 7, 2007

Mifflin Street Afterglow

For the first time in the 4 year period of my undergraduate studies here at the University of Wisconsin, I did not attend the annual Mifflin Street Block Party. I had to rely on news reports and friend’s stories about the events for my perspective. That being said, I am a bit upset over the fact that the top story on most local media outlets today has to deal with the increased arrests at this years party. More than 100 extra arrests were made over the course of Saturday on Mifflin.  Now, I understand the need for local news and newspapers to report on events and information that is of importance to the people of Madison, but this is nothing more than fear-mongering and aimed at dragging the reputation of students through the mud.  There are several reasons why arrests are up, and often these were overlooked in stories about the increase.  For one, weather was much better this year, allowing for more people to come out and enjoy the festivities.  Last year there was a cold rain, and the year before it was much cooler than normal.  I would venture to say that if you took the ratio of people arrested on Saturday compared to the amount of people who attended, it would have been the same as, if not less, than in past years.  Secondly, there was a decrease in the amount of violent crimes/arrests on the block.  This decrease allowed for police to focus much more on petty offenses such as walking on the sidewalk with an open container, which counts towards the arrest total.  Along those same lines, it is now secret that each year Madison PD has become more and more strict in enforcing open intoxicant and house party ordinances.  It is an obvious fact that increased/stricter enforcement = more arrests, even with the same level of “criminal activity.”  None of these mitigating factors were reported as possible reasons for the increase in arrests, though.  This is simply another example of the community trying to find a reason to regulate student behavior outside of their normal sphere of influence.

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