They came to campus to run, to cheer, even just to celebrate. And in the end, that's about all that happened. Despite an influx of almost 100,000 Penn Relays fans and a campus-wide celebration in honor of Hey Day, University Police say that crime last weekend stayed at one of the lowest levels in recent history. Over the period of Thursday to Sunday, only nine crimes were reported to the University Police, and of them, police officials say, only a handful were related to either the Relays or Hey Day. "From a crime perspective, Relays went very, very well," University Police Chief Maureen Rush said. "With just a couple of exceptions, the crowd inside the stadium was a pleasant crowd and [they] were very cooperative." In the past, the Relay's crowds were known to bring with them a sharp increase in a variety of different crimes, including greater numbers of thefts, burglaries and even some violent offenses. But for the past three years, crime during the weekend-long track meet has decreased consistently -- a notable change since the 1997 Relays, which was marred by a riot at the Wawa convenience store on Spruce Street and a carjacking outside Franklin Field. This year, police are attributing only a few minor incidents to the Relays and Hey Day activities. "We had one pickpocket in a men's room at Franklin Field, a vandalism and a minor theft somewhere else," University Police Deputy Chief of Investigations Thomas King said. "That was pretty much it." In addition, four University students were arrested and cited with disorderly conduct for Hey Day-related disruptions on Friday in the Quadrangle. "[The students were exhibiting] unruly behavior that had the possibility of causing some real harm to others," Rush said. Besides Relays and Hey Day-related offenses, University Police responded to an unaffiliated case of domestic assault at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, an auto theft, two thefts from autos and a bike theft. In addition, police arrested 22-year-old Rudel Freeman early Sunday morning and charged him with burglary after a Spectaguard observed the Philadelphia resident trying to break into College Hall through a window. But with the lack of any other serious crime, police say they spent the majority of their efforts dealing with large parties both on- and off-campus. "They weren't so much rowdy as they were crowded," Rush said. "There were a lot of people at the parties so it took some of our resources away from the other things we were doing." By late Saturday evening, campus activity had returned to normal, Rush continued, adding that traffic patterns throughout the weekend stayed relatively manageable and vendors along Walnut and 33rd streets were helpful in keeping the volume of the music down.Comments powered by Disqus
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