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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UAPD does not expect increases in weekend crime

UAPD and the UA Alumni Association said they aren’t worried about reckless behavior during Homecoming, despite doubts from students.

This year’s Homecoming festivities began Thursday, and features more than 50 events across four days, including a parade, a number of reunions and the UA’s football matchup against the University of Utah on Saturday. With such a large number of people occupying the UA Mall at one time, some may expect security difficulties, but event promoters and UAPD said they aren’t concerned.

“Typically what we try and address is disruptive behavior, anything that’s going to distract visitors and patrons from enjoying the game,” said Juan Alvarez, UAPD’s public information officer. “But typically that’s something we deal with at any football game, so it’s not something that’s just particular of Homecoming.”

According to Alvarez, the department will also be employing several off-duty officers in addition to the regular number to help coordinate traffic routes during the parade that will travel down the Mall on Saturday.

Much of the 2011 Homecoming presentation is being directed by the UA Alumni Association, which will run a tight schedule during the four-day celebration.

“We come up with a minute-by-minute schedule for everything that’s happening on the Mall that is part of the Alumni Association Homecoming program,” said Melinda Burke, president and executive director of the association.

Burke said this schedule not only keeps Homecoming events running smoothly, but also plays a major role in ensuring everyone’s safety. Collaboration between the UA Alumni Association and UAPD relies on this plan, and, according to Burke, communication between the two departments is flawless.

“They (UAPD) are pretty incredible,” Burke added. “If we need directions or if we have questions, we don’t wait until Homecoming day to ask UAPD about an issue, and they’ve been very good at talking with us about potential issues.”

The UA Alumni Association is also prepared to hire more security if extra security guards are needed. Much of the security will concentrate on monitoring the tents on the Mall, especially those serving alcohol.

Despite the confidence of Homecoming’s promoters, some students on campus aren’t so sure that everything will be as easy to manage as they claim, especially once alcohol is served.

“I’m sure if there’s alcohol involved, then there will be something,” said Maura Jensen, a senior studying retailing and consumer science. “I always read stuff in the (Daily) Wildcat about like arrests at the dorms and stuff like that, so I’m sure there will be something if there’s underage people.”

Lilian Hautemulle, a chemistry senior, also said there might be issues, but because of the crowd itself.

“You have a lot more energy going into a system, so, yeah, there’s a lot more likelihood that something’s going to go wrong,” Hautemulle said. “More people, more partying. I wouldn’t say it’s assumed. It would be natural, though.”

On the other hand, not everyone has such doubts about UAPD’s efforts to keep everything under control.

“I haven’t noticed anything crazy happening on campus whenever I’ve been around,” said Andrew VanSchoiack, a chemistry graduate student. “It’s not really going to be a big deal.”

The primary message from UAPD to Homecoming’s patrons is to enjoy the weekend.

“We’d like to ask the people that come here to make sure they have a good time, but be aware of your behavior and how it affects the people around you,” Alvarez said. “We want everyone to come here and have a good time, so when they do leave the University of Arizona, they come away with a good experience.”

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