NARRAGANSETT—College parties and student rental-related incidents have become a constant occurrences among the neighborhoods of Narragansett. The town and Narragansett Police Department have worked together over the past month to implement the existing and recently passed ordinances as the 2011-2012 school year advances.
“Results have been markedly better than last year,” said NPD Chief Hoxsie. “The number of stickers issued have been down.”
From August 29 to October 2, there have been a total of 106 arrests for student related offenses. Regarding underage drinking, there have been 47 instances of possession/transportation of alcohol by a minor. NPD has only made four arrests in total for driving while under the influence. All of the numbers regarding student-related incidents have been compiled by NPD Officer Mark Allsup.
The town council has understood that the student rental problem in Narragansett has often disturbed the quality of life, and in recent months implemented a number of enforcement tools which police officers have already utilized.
“Our officers have been very aggressive in their enforcement, and we’ve put extra people on at night,” said Hoxsie. “They are really using all of the different enforcement tools available, such as the open container violation and underage drinking.”
For the 2011-12 academic year, three officers have been assigned to a special shift of 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. to assist patrols scheduled on regular shifts, giving NPD more manpower in cracking down on loud parties and other student rental related disturbances. These ‘party’ patrols are paid through the town budget and also by a $15,000 to $20,000 grant from the federal government via the Narragansett Prevention Partnership.
Officers have made 5 arrests on the new open-container ordinance which makes it illegal for anyone to possess an open alcoholic container in public places. The newly revised noise ordinance, which regulates more strictly the levels of allowable noise at sensitive hours, has also been enforced.
“We’ve charged one house on the new noise ordinance,” said Hoxsie. “$1200 is a pretty substantial fine for one party.”
The noise ordinance, adopted on August 15, includes a modified fine structure which carries heavier payments for noise ordinance violations. The first offense results in a minimum $400 fine or imprisonment of no more than 30 days. Any subsequent offense incurs a minimum fine of $500 or imprisonment of no more than 30 days.
A total of 198 noise complaints have been filed, and Hoxsie admits that the number of noise complaints is still high, but students seem to be learning about being aware community members.
“We have to give some credit to the students that numbers are down,” said Hoxsie. “Hopefully, they realize that they are not living in a college neighborhood but a residential neighborhood.”
The town council will be reviewing the first 60 days of NPD’s efforts in corralling student rental issues in November, and plans to take another look at student-related incidents sometime after the holidays. A motion to fine further rental homes which have been called for multiple disturbances will be brought to the town council at the next meeting on October 17. The motion will be for a first reading of the potential ordinance.
“For homes that have multiple disturbance calls, we will seek reimbursement for police overhead costs,” said Town Manager Grady Miller. “[Renters] can be fined to help recover the costs of police officers responding to their residences.”
As the town and NPD work towards alleviating the town of its student rental issues, residents and students alike are assured that progressive measures will continue to be planned and implemented.
“We really want people to know that we are being vigilant,” said Miller. “The town council has made [student-related disturbances] a top priority for the town to deal with.”