Students' St. Paddy's Day parties pre-empted in Windsor

Windsor Police and city councillors are crediting a proactive approach to St. Patrick's Day for keeping the peace Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Police, councillors go door to door to monitor parties, potential problems in student housing district

The potential for trouble, like that in London, Ont., was in Windsor on Saturday. But police and councillors were out in force to prevent it. (Karlie Rogerson Photography/

Windsor Police and city councillors are crediting a proactive approach to St. Patrick's Day for keeping the peace Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Last week, police and city officials caught wind of a planned keg party at a duplex in the student housing district of the city, near the University of Windsor. Officers and councillors learned of the party being advertised on Facebook.

Police responded quickly and paid the organizers a visit days before the party was to happen.

"We had some information about different parties that may have been taking place — keg parties in the university area," Windsor Police spokesperson Sgt. Brett Corey said. "Our officers were visiting those locations early in the day and even the days prior to St. Paddy’s Day to speak to the people organizing these parties."

Corey said officers made the party hosts aware of liquor laws, including licensing, and their consequences.

"We got out in front of this," Corey said.

The town and gown committee began reaching out to city hall, councillors and bylaw enforcement when it heard of the planned St. Paddy's kegger.

The hosts cancelled the party.

Up the 401, in London, a riot erupted out Saturday night near Fanshawe College. At least eight college students have been suspended. Police and school officials said the riot was fuelled by alcohol.

"I was quite glad and relieved we didn’t have anything near that magnitude here in Windsor," Coun. Al Maghnieh said.

Corey called the scenes in London "disturbing."

"It's amazing to see what a mob mentality can do once the ball starts rolling," Corey said. "It takes a small group of people to get the ball rolling.

'This stuff won't be tolerated'

Windsor Police put more officers on duty Saturday.

"We did rearrange some shifts, which enabled us to put more officers out in the street. They were out of their vehicles and walking in the university area," Corey said.

Maghnieh rode along with officers Saturday night in the student housing district on the city's west end.

"There were lots of parties in a six- or seven-block area. But overall, it was quite peaceful," Maghnieh said.

"It was an educational process," Corey said. "We found being proactive helped us on the backend [of the evening]."

Corey said there were nine St. Patrick's Day related arrests Saturday night and into Sunday morning. Five people were arrested for being drunk in public and four were arrested for breaking the peace.

"There was a very good presence in the area, by police, by bylaw enforcement and other officials, just to make sure folks understand we’re here, we’re watching you and we won’t let things get out of hand," Maghnieh said. "This type of stuff won’t be tolerated."