Progress cited on CCSU off-campus issues

Published on Monday, 13 November 2017 22:26
Written by LISA BACKUS


NEW BRITAIN - Although she says she has caught several people urinating on her bushes recently, Stratford Road resident Dona Blazuk believes the problems created by Central Connecticut State University students in the neighborhoods near its campus are subsiding.

“It’s a lot better,” Blazuk said. “You’re always going to have problems when it involves kids, but overall, it’s been better.”

Blazuk was one of several dozen residents who attended Monday night’s “Town and Gown” Committee meeting to address issues surrounding off-campus parties and packs of students who leave broken beer bottles, knock over garbage cans, urinate on lawns and yell at all hours.

During the last meeting on Sept. 18 - days after four CCSU football players were arrested on charges that they had hosted a large party at which underage drinking was going on - CCSU President Zulma Toro promised changes, including better guidelines for coaches on student-athlete behavior.

More CCSU officers are patrolling the neighborhoods surrounding the campus on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and more tickets are being issued, said CCSU Police Sgt. Jerry Erwin.

All last year, the department issued 40 citations, while this year 140 have been handed out just since Sept. 18, Erwin said.

In at least one case, a CCSU officer cited students not only for knocking over trash barrels but for littering, Erwin said.

CCSU police have also made six arrests for breach of peace since Sept. 18, compared to one in 2016, and made 1,129 patrol checks in the area, compared to 473 in 2016.

“A lot of it has to do with the commitment Dr. Toro has made,” Erwin said.

CCSU officers are also monitoring New Britain police radio calls so, if city officers are responding to a report of a large party, university police will check in to see if they need help, Erwin said.

The move is in sharp contrast to two months ago, when New Britain officers were trying to quell a large party on Roxbury Road at the home of several CCSU football players. A CCSU officer drove by, but didn’t stop to ask if city police needed help, reports indicate.

New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell met with Toro recently, he told the crowd, and said his department is in constant communication with CCSU police.

New Britain officers also patrol the neighborhoods surrounding the campus Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and will issue tickets during the daytime for illegal parking and other quality-of-life issues.

Some neighbors reported problems, including speeding and illegal parking, were still occurring. New Britain police will step up enforcement in those areas, Wardwell said.

Parties are still happening, police conceded. But many neighbors said the problems caused by partying have subsided for now.

“We had one neighbor who had to move (because of the parties),” said one woman to declined to be identified. “We’ve been pretty lucky. It hasn’t been as bad, although I do see more police patrols.”

Posted in New Britain Herald, General News, New Britain on Monday, 13 November 2017 22:26. Updated: Monday, 13 November 2017 22:28.