The authorities in some U.S. cities have vowed to crack-down on violence and rowdiness on St. Patrick's Day by using tools such as Twitter, Facebook and changing the day of the celebrations.
Celebrations in Hoboken, New Jersey, on March 5 resulted in 34 arrests and two sexual assaults. Mayor Dawn Zimmer said that next year Ireland's patron saint will be celebrated on a weekday. Changing the parade and celebrations to a weekday will mean fewer day trippers and parties said Juan Melli, the mayoral spokesman.
Business owners particularly bar and restaurant owners are worried that changing the day will mean a loss in revenue. However Melli said other business owners are scared to open during the Saint Patrick's Day celebrations.
This year's event are the perfect example of why. Melli said "A lot of people lose money that day…One business was broken into and they were basically partying in the store. They urinated in there and trashed it."
Revelers in Hoboken also dumped beer and a planter on firefighters who were responding to a report of a fire.
In all 296 summonses were issued following the celebrations.
Similarly, festivities in Albany, New York and New Port, Rhode Island ended in arrests and violence. Authorities in these cities are now considering changes.
Newport police recorded 95 arrests on March 12. Charges included everything from public drinking to weapons charges.
The police are now planning to use social networking sites to find out where crowds might gather.
Newport Police Lt. William Fitzgerald told Reuters "It's the first time we heard of people coming to the parade because of Twitter…We're trying to get some ideas from our computer people about how social networking can assist us."
Albany bar owners are being asked to shut their doors two hours early on St. Patrick's Day. On March 12 hundreds of drunken students staged what police called a riot. People tossed furniture and appliances from balconies, smashed window and damaged cars. The rioters threw bottles at the police injuries two of them.
More than 40 students were charged with rioting and assaulting the police among other crimes. Prosecutors plan to use the students own video clips which their posted on Facebook to build cases against them.
New York City has managed to lower the incidents of violence and drunken behavior following years of alcohol-related problems. They adopt a zero-tolerance policy on towards open containers and a high visibility police effort to enforce it according the Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. Teams patrol Central Park and seize alcoholic beverages and public transport.