Police monitoring Spring Jam parties near U this weekendby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minneapolis and University of Minnesota police officers will be watching for big parties in the Dinkytown area this weekend as the university holds its annual Spring Jam festival.
University-sponsored activities are mostly taking place near Coffman Memorial Union, but there's always partying off-campus.
In 2009, it spilled into the streets of Dinkytown as party goers started bonfires and clashed with police.
University of Minnesota deputy police chief Chuck Miner said officers will be on the lookout.
"In general it's a busy weekend," Miner said. "Spring is in the air, it's warm weather now, it's been nice, it was rather busy last night, so just, you know, worrying about large groups of people out congregating and potentially causing problems."
Miner said things like underage drinking and public intoxication have actually been less of a problem in recent years. The Minneapolis social host ordinance, which makes it a crime to host a party where underage drinking takes place, has helped, he said. The ordinance took effect in early 2010, and police saw fewer big parties during last year's Spring Jam.
"Education is one piece, increased enforcement. Several years ago we began just targeting that type of activity and being more proactive at reducing public consumption of alcohol and consumption at parties," Miner said.
This year university officials have knocked on doors in the Dinkytown area to tell student renters about the social host law. Like last year, university officials are also monitoring social networking sites like Facebook and alerting police about possible activities to look out for this weekend, Miner said.
"[University officials] reach out to those that are hosting parties or talking about hosting parties to try to give them some advice and dissuade them," he said.