UPDATE: Hoboken police release Lepre-Con tally; 2 officers injured

HOBOKEN — The Hoboken Police Department has released preliminary numbers related to the annual bar crawls and house parties that take place in Hoboken on the first Saturday in March, in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day.

During the citywide “Lepre-Con” pub crawls, young patrons visit the mile-square city to “bar-hop” for drink specials. At the same time, some residents tend to hold house parties in town starting as early as 9 a.m. The events are independently run and not sponsored by the city.

The all-day celebration arose four years ago as a reaction to the cancelation of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a 25-year Hoboken tradition that used to be held the first Saturday in March. After young residents increasingly used the day to throw parties and visitors flocked to town to take advantage of bar specials, Mayor Dawn Zimmer asked the independent St. Patrick’s Parade Committee to move the parade to a weekday evening. The committee refused and ultimately canceled the parade. Individuals decided to continue the celebration on their own by organizing bar crawls on that day each year.

Hoboken Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante told the Hoboken Reporter two weeks ago that crime numbers on the day have been waning in recent years. In 2015, 95 tickets were issued, there were 39 ambulance calls, and a total of 11 arrests were made. That same year, a homeless man set himself on fire the middle of the road at Bloomfield and Fourth streets, but the matter was said to be unconnected to the pub crawl.

Early this past Sunday morning, Ferrante Tweeted, “1 am Update: 13 arrests, 48 city ordinances, 30 to hospital. 387 calls for service so far. 3 hrs to go. Final numbers will be released tomorrow.”
Ferrante Tweeted several addresses of house parties that were visited by police or shut down. He also cited several arrests for fights, some on the street, others in or near a bar.
But Ferrante said Sunday afternoon that two officers were injured in an incident at 2:30 a.m., so he would have to release final numbers and answer more questions later.
Later, he sent out a strongly worded press release saying that two officers were injured when a former Delaware Valley college football player in his 20s allegedly tried to escape capture outside a McDonald’s, where he was allegedly involved in a fight. One officer suffered a dislocated shoulder and another had three broken ribs.
“I will not tolerate having any of our officers injured, for the purposes of a few to make a financial profit at the expense of our residents, and for the purposes of promoting deviant behavior attached to various holidays,” he wrote.
As reported in a past issue of the Reporter, police have said there has been more partying in recent years around Halloween.
For more, see this weekend’s newspaper.

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