Two New Jersey cities are cracking down on St.Patrick's parade inebriation by issuing maximum fines for public drunkenness and threatening jail time.
Holboken, just across the river Hudson from New York has experienced major problems in recent years with public drunkenness and urination and is taking a stiff approach for the March 5th event.
Local politicians fear a huge crowd of drunken revelers and point to a Facebook page set up recently which shows that, as of Feb. 3, almost 1,500 people will “attend” the party.
The annual celebration there begins with bars opening at 9 a.m. and tens of thousands of visitors packing the downtown area.
Councilman Nino Giacchi told a Feb. 2 council meeting that the city will enforce a zero-tolerance policy which could include jail for six months for offenders and fines for people up to $2,000 for offenses such as public drinking and public urination.
Giacchi stated that most of the problem was private house parties that spilled over and that jail sentences should be invoked for the worst offenders
He quoted the latest guidelines “When a party is deemed to be unreasonably reckless, disorderly, and unsafe, the renter or owner of the apartment or house will be charged with [maintaining a nuisance],” according to the guidelines from last year. Maximum penalties for the house parties are imprisonment of up to six months and fines not to exceed $1,000.”
Meanwhile, following the Holboken example, town leaders in Morristown New Jersey are also threatening a crackdown. Morristown council member Alison Deeb,has called for a "zero tolerance" policy for public drunkenness or urination, to deter anyone thinking of doing either.
Deeb cited Hoboken as an example of what can be acheived with zero tolerance.