Police implement 'party patrol'


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The numbers suggest Iowa City has not become house-party central, but many students say otherwise.

In response to concerns about house parties, the Iowa City Police Department began implementing "Party Patrols" since students returned to school. These patrols, active Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, will focus specifically on parties in residential neighborhoods. Iowa City Police Chief Sam Hargadine said the new patrol will consist of officers being paid overtime and won't take away from other patrols.

After this past weekend, police records show calls for service for house parties and disorderly behavior had decreased from 61 citywide loud-party calls for the last weekend in August 2009 to 45 calls last weekend, according to a press release issued by the Iowa City police.

"There has been no increase in house parties," said Iowa City Police Sgt. Denise Brotherton. "We are proactively responding to parties."

This past weekend, between the evening of Aug. 26 and early Monday morning, police reported 53 disturbance and loud party complaints and issued 23 disorderly-house citations and 19 PAULAs.

Calls for service for assaults and fights in 2009 for this same time frame was 31. This past weekend, there were no calls for service for fights in progress and six calls for service for assaults, officials said.

But students who are underage and unable to access the bars due to the 21-ordinance claim they've seen more house parties when they're out on weekend nights.

More than a dozen people said they've seen more house parties since the ordinance went into effect.

"There are a ton [of house parties]," said University of Iowa junior Katie Redington. "I go because I'm under 21."

She said she would go to the bars if it was still allowed, but the consequences are too expensive to risk going.

A spokesman for 21 Makes Sense said the group members stand behind the police data. Anti-21 advocates said they disagree with the statistics.

"Anybody who walks into one neighborhood knows that's not true," said Matt Pfaltzgraf, a spokesman for Yes to Entertaining Students Safely.

UI police are maintaining their patrols downtown, said Charles Green, the assistant vice president for the UI police.

"We have no fewer than two police officers in the downtown area Wednesday through Saturday from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.," he said. "After 3 a.m., if things are pretty quiet downtown, officers will go to different assignments on campus for the remainder of their watch."

But while some are taking advantage of parties, others said they prefer to avoid them, in favor of focusing on academics or devoting themselves to other activities.

The City Council does not plan to comment on the number of house parties in town until it receives police reports, but Councilor Connie Champion said that the council intends to crack down on house parties in the future.

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