Mifflin Street party carries on despite city and police efforts - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Mifflin Street party carries on despite city and police efforts

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MADISON (WKOW)-- The partying was in full swing Saturday night on Mifflin Street as hundreds of UW-Madison students celebrate a tradition with decades of history.

But after two years of violence, city officials and police tried to scale things back. In 2011, the once city sanctioned block party produced a near fatal stabbing, several assaults, and hundreds of arrests.

Last year, city and university leaders worked to make the event more manageable. This year they're doing the same.

"It was to the point where this just wasn't safe," Police Spokesman Joel Despain says. "There were too many people for us to really make sure people were staying safe. So the event needed to change and hopefully we're seeing that."

Students say the turnout is nowhere near where it was last year or back in 201, but even so there are still hundreds of students that came out and started partying at 8:00 a.m to keep the tradition alive.

Some people say they're annoyed with the extra police patrolling the streets.

"They canceled the party. There's no Mifflin Street Block Party this year and they've still got city dollars going into people walking up and down the road. It's ridiculous," Mifflin Street resident Zach Feldt says.

Others are a little more open minded to the idea of police patrolling the street.

"I'm glad people aren't getting stabbed this year and getting sexually abused. So, that's nice," UW student Sydney Larson says.

Madison police hope this year will be a new beginning for the event, putting the party in the right direction for years to come.

"It may never go completely away, but it would be like we see today where people are having a good time but doing it in a way that they're staying safe," Despain says.

Madison police say last year's Mifflin Street party produced more than 150 arrests by 2:00 pm. This year there were only a handful of arrests in that area. Depending on how the rest of the night goes police are hoping to scale back their efforts next year.

 

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MADISON (WKOW)-- After two years of violence the city of Madison decided to crack down even more on the Mifflin Street block party.

Madison police say the turnout for this year's party is nowhere near where it was in years past, but that didn't keep them from heavily policing the event in case something did happen throughout the day.

Police say at this time last year well over 150 arrests were made. This time around there has only been a handful of problems.

It's nothing compared to the party of 2011 where police dealt with sexual assaults, fights, and a near-fatal stabbing. That's when the event was a city-sanctioned block party where students could openly drink in the street, watch live music, and purchase alcohol from vendors.

The university and city officials decided to scale back and not allow that to happen this year. Police think it's one of the reasons why the turnout has gone down.

"We want to work with people. We want students to have a good time with others and have their parties, but do it in a safe way and not break the law and not be serving underage people," Madison Police Spokesman Joel Despain says. "There are certainly a number of people down here, a lot of people having house parties and having a good time, but doing it without breaking the law."

Depending on how things go this year police could cut back on their policing efforts for the event, but they say it's too early to tell. Things could easily pick up and get out of hand as the night goes on.

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