Although this year’s Mill Fest started significantly earlier than in years past, previous Post reports show arrest numbers have been on a downward trend over the past four years.
Overall, the numbers matched those from the 2016 Mill Fest, with 24 individuals arrested, primarily on alcohol-related charges. Both years saw nearly a 50 percent decrease in arrests from years prior. In 2015, 52 individuals were arrested, and 75 arrests were made in 2014 during Mill Fest alone.
Keith McCormick, a junior studying mechanical engineering, felt this year's police presence was less intimidating than he had seen during his previous two years at Mill Fest.
"I'd say it's a little bit more calm," McCormick said. "The cops were a little more laid back. Last year, they were a--holes ... this year, it's been good. I like it — I had a great time."
A majority of parties shut down throughout the course of this year’s festivities were in violation of the City of Athens’ Nuisance Party Ordinance.
The ordinance defines a nuisance party as “a social gathering or party which is conducted on premises within the city and which, by reason of the conduct of the persons in attendance” results in any of a number of offenses, including underage alcohol consumption, disorderly conduct and public urination. Those who violate the rules of the ordinance are subject to a minor misdemeanor for their first offense.
Just before the festivities began, Athens Code Enforcement officers knocked on doors to speak with Mill Street residents about keeping parties in line with local ordinances. By the end of the day, however, law enforcement had shut down most house parties, with Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle noting that although “one or two” parties might be allowed to continue, a “vast majority” were in violation.
Pyle also cited the fest’s earlier start time as factoring into the “very unsafe” atmosphere, with numerous party-goers darting through oncoming traffic.
The Ohio University Police Department’s weekend call log noted 18 alcohol-related citations, 10 drug charges, five citations for possession of a fictitious ID and 11 for public urination. Seven were arrested for alcohol-related offenses last year, down from the 13 total arrests in 2015 and 27 in 2014. Citations by OUPD were overwhelmingly issued to men this year, with only four females apprehended by the department.
APD arrested only one individual for an alcohol charge during this year’s Mill Fest, as was the case during last year’s block party. Both years’ numbers were down from years prior, with eight arrests in 2015 and 12 in 2014.
The Ohio Investigative Unit, which historically arrests the most people during fests, arrested 21 individuals this year, mostly on alcohol-related charges, in addition to one felony drug charge. Last year’s numbers were slightly lower, with the unit having arrested 16 on alcohol charges. In 2015, 31 were arrested on 55 charges, and in 2014, 36 were arrested on 55 charges.
Milliron Fest, however, remained quiet this year, with no arrests reported to have occurred on the residential street. Throughout the course of the day, OUPD reported two alcohol-related charges, three drug citations and two fictitious IDs. It is unclear if any of the citations were related to the fest.