The Madison Police Department outlined police involvement in the 2012 Mifflin Street Block Party in an event summary released Wednesday.
The summary explained the planning, preparation and enforcement of the event MPD underwent in an effort to control the Mifflin Street Block Party held on May 5, 2012, according to Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4.
According to Verveer, MPD wanted to make the block party safer after the 2011 event.
“Last year was an extremely safe event in terms of injuries and property damage,” Verveer said. “There were many more cops and they were pretty strict.”
An increase in the level of staffing was one of the main differences between 2011 and 2012, Verveer said. As a result of the increased number of personnel, the cost of the event increased by $65,077, according to the event summary.
In the past, MPD often looked the other way regarding enforcement of city ordinances, but in 2012, they made a more concerted effort to enforce the laws, Verveer said.
According to Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, in 2012 MPD arrested 397 people over the course of the block party, compared to 162 in 2011. There were 627 charges issued by MPD, involving anything from open intoxicants, underage possession or possessing an incorrect ID, he said.
While fewer arrests were made in 2011, Resnick said it is important that the event two years ago had more criminal misdemeanors and several criminal felonies.
“We did not see that level of violent behavior or serious acts in 2012,” Resnick said.
Another change MPD made in 2012 was the effort they made to keep Mifflin Street open to traffic during the block party, Verveer said. In previous years, either a street use permit was granted by the city or the crowd was so large police needed to close the street, he said.
The level of police staffing and relatively strict enforcement of ordinance violation will most likely remain the same at this year’s event, Verveer said.
According to the summary, MPD efforts to curb the event appeared successful given the reported drop in crime.
“The police felt the plan was well executed last year on Mifflin,” Verveer said. “They are planning to have the same response.”
With addition of an alternative event held on May 4, MPD will have many more mobile units, such as patrol cars, units on horseback and units on foot, Resnick said. MPD will be able to cover more ground at this year’s event, he added.
Resnick said the event summary was not surprising. The bigger takeaway was 2012 was a safer event, he said.
Verveer added the content of the summary also did not surprise him either. He said he is well-versed in how the police feel about the event.
“It was very obvious reading the report that the police dislike this annual event,” Verveer said. “Police are realists. Despite what will be a very successful music festival for UW students, police don’t expect Mifflin to end anytime soon.”
Verveer added police are still expecting for a large crowd to gather for the upcoming block party. The Mifflin Street Block Party tradition is ingrained in the student body from one class to another, he said.