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Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Campus continues Picnic Day talks

Tuesday night students and police met on campus to discuss this year’s Picnic Day, though no decision was made regarding the future of the holiday.

UC Davis Student-Police Relations Committee looked at crime statistics from this year’s event and found that there were more arrests and citations given out both on and off campus.

On campus, there were around the same number of calls for service as last year, with 288 this year and 234 in 2010. There were 10 arrests made, compared to two in 2010. There were also 62 citations, compared to 13 last year. The majority of the citations were for open containers of alcohol.

UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza said the increase in arrests can be attributed to the increased police presence.

“There were more eyes on campus, so we saw more arrests,” Spicuzza said. “There was also zero tolerance this year, meaning not only did people have to dump out their drinks, but they also were given tickets.”

In the city of Davis, 740 calls for service were made, compared to 516 last year. Fifty-four arrests were made, 16 more than last year. Two hundred and seven citations were issued, over three times as many as in 2010. Similar to on campus, of these citations, 124 were for open containers of alcohol in public.

Davis Police Department Lt. Thomas Waltz said he believes even more people could have been arrested.

“Based on my experience over the past 15 years, I feel we didn’t have enough cops last year,” Waltz said. “There became two Picnic Days: one for families and one where people come into town to drink. I don’t blame the students, but they shouldn’t invite a bunch of people.”

Waltz hopes the increased number of police officers will deter out-of-towners who cause trouble from returning in the future.

“You might call it a police state, or you could just say there are a lot of cops,” Waltz said. “It might take heavy enforcement to change the day. We want it not to be a magnet for every idiot in the region to come into town. Maybe these people will decide not to come back next year.”

Spicuzza said two highlights this year were improvements in behavior on buses and at fraternity houses.

“In general, it felt better than last year,” Spicuzza said. “It was calmer and more in control. I hate to see the event go away, so I have my fingers crossed.”

Waltz said he believes some of the negative behavior was curtailed by stopping advertisements for the day.

“This year, the parade wasn’t a drunken mess like it was before,” Waltz said. “For the next couple of years, the police will have to lock down with heavy enforcement to stop the bad behavior though.”

Paul Cody, a coordinator for the Campus Union for Student Involvement and the Picnic Day advisor, said students should not assume there will be a Picnic Day next year because of problems related to the day persist.

“I wouldn’t say that there will be one next year,” Cody said. “There are still a lot of issues that still need to be addressed.”

ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached city@theaggie.org.


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