I suppose that some in the city would call the fact that the Morgantown Police Department only received 481 phone calls over the weekend some sort of victory for the community. Here is the weekend’s good news, courtesy of the Daily Athenaeum:
MPD reported a total of eight arrests, 15 charges and received 481 calls this weekend.
Success! Supposing, anyway, that success is defined as the Morgantown Police Department being contacted a mere 481 times over a single weekend. Without knowing for certain, it seems highly likely that the majority of those phone calls had concerned the behavior of our newly arrived student population, and the majority of that majority had to do with things like out of control partying. We know, from earlier this week, that behavior in Wiles Hill was predictably awful
. I can only assume the same held true for the other neighborhoods usually impacted by student (mis)behavior: Woodburn, Evansdale, 2nd Ward/Greenmont, etc.
City officials meanwhile are sitting on their hands. In their words, 481 calls is no big deal. It’s right there in the article if you’re wondering:
“There was nothing extremely bad this weekend other than the assault,” Sperringer said. “It was about average for this weekend.”
(Sperringer is Lt. Harold Sperringer, of the Morgantown Police Department.) Although it is genuinely possible that 481 calls represents an “average” back-to-school weekend, is that truly a tolerable situation? Are city officials comfortable with city residents being forced to reach out to the police department 481 times in a three day period?
I understand that, in a lot of ways, Morgantown’s Police Department can’t be everywhere at all times. That is an impossible standard to achieve and a ridiculous standard to demand. At the same time, I distinctly remember repeatedly calling the police when I had the temerity to live in Wiles Hill and seeing no visible sign of response. Parties going until all hours at maximum volume seemed to trouble officers little even if those gatherings were disturbing the neighborhoods in which they were occurring. Once, I called police when a grill was stolen off my porch (the morons responsible did this in the dark, not realizing it was rusted clear through and useless) but they never showed up. Mine are stories endlessly repeated by neighborhood residents all around Morgantown. Meanwhile, the city does nothing.
Perhaps the most obvious solution to the partying is dedicating officers to particular neighborhoods and having them patrol, either in car or on foot. Alerting landlords to students who have been cited for late night partying wouldn’t hurt either, as it would give the landlords a stake in what’s going on in their properties, something which many of them don’t currently have. Finally, citing landlords for their tenants atrocious behavior also seems entirely workable.
City officials lack the stones necessary to implement any of these obvious changes. They’re more concerned with protecting and beautifying the neighborhoods where these problems don’t exist. As long as those chosen neighborhoods are placated, we’re left to believe that the police department getting 481 calls each weekend is nothing more than average.