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Despite large crowd, few problems with UVic dance party gathering

Mar 07 2012

A “decentralized dance party” that brought up to 2,000 young people to the University of Victoria Monday night caused few problems, despite a rowdy group that tried to crash the festivities.

Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen said the department was alerted in advance by UVic security, and watched social-media forums, where 1,750 people said they would attend.

“We co-ordinated with UVic, and the expectation was there would likely be several hundred people that would show up in the end.”

Significantly more than that made their way to the campus.

“By all accounts, this was a large crowd that was quite well behaved,” Jantzen said.

A similar decentralized dance party — so called, Jantzen said, because a DJ airs music over the radio, and people tune in on their own devices — was successfully staged downtown last October.

While there were no arrests Monday, police did receive a 9-1-1 call saying that things “might be going sideways,” Jantzen said.

Seven Saanich officers, two or three from Oak Bay, and UVic security personnel were in place to deal with any issues.

Although the party was billed as a non-alcoholic event, some alcohol-related concerns did arise, he said.

The most serious problems came from a group of what was believed to be high-school students.

“It was these younger people that were found to be intoxicated,” Jantzen said. They were also reluctant to leave when police shut things down at 11 p.m.

Jantzen said the presence of the younger group is a signal to parents to be aware of their children’s whereabouts, particularly on a night before a day off school.

“It’s not typical that we would see a group that size of younger-aged, high-school age kids who are intoxicated on a Monday evening. That is fairly exceptional in our experience.”

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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