Thousands of students are flocking back to university campuses around Halifax, and with them comes increased noise complaints from nearby residents.
Halifax Regional Police have once again launched their Operation Fall-Back campaign in an effort to reduce noise complaints, property damage and public intoxication in the south end of Halifax.
The campaign was created in 2004 in response to concerns raised by citizens around this time of year.
“The students are coming back to university, which is a great thing,” Halifax Regional Police Const. Robin Sherwood. “But, obviously when they come back there’s usually increased calls to service generally around noise, sometimes around drinking and sometimes around partying.”
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Police are increasing high-visibility patrols and directed enforcement in known complaint areas. They’re also partnering with community groups, university officials and student representatives in order to raise awareness on issues surrounding noise complaints and alcohol use.
“There’s an increased police presence for sure,” Sherwood said. “But prior to that, we meet with students before and we educate them about what’s expected in the community.”
“We’re asking everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves but do it in a safe way that respects the community and respects the law.”
Ed Shutt has lived near Dalhousie University for more than 20 years. He said the increased police presence has made a difference in his neighbourhood.
“It’s usually the first week or two after the students get back when there’s a lot of noise. Parties, yelling – late into the night,” Shutt said. “The new bylaw they enacted a few years ago really made a difference with the fines. Usually you only have to call once and they settle down.”
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While some students said they enjoy seeing an increased police presence, others see it as more of a nuisance.
“I understand it is a bit of an issue. But at the same time, I mean it’s orientation week and a lot of students are drinking responsibly and having fun,” student Brittney Wilson said.
“I think targeting students specifically for this is more annoying than anything.”
During last year’s campaign, officers issued 85 summary offence tickets for noise complaints, alcohol-related infractions and motor vehicle violations.
They also responded to 96 noise complaints and arrested two people for public intoxication.