Some 3,700 people participated in Saturday’s Shamrock Crawl, an annual St. Patrick’s Day-themed bar crawl in Clarendon, according to police.
That’s down from nearly 5,000 attendees for last year’s crawl. Unlike last year, however, this one resulted in relatively few arrests.
Police say they arrested two people in direct connection to the crawl — one for assault and battery, and the other for drunk in public. That compares to more than two dozen arrests during last year’s event, including a bar crawl attendee who was arrested for allegedly showing up naked at the Arlington magistrate’s office in search of her incarcerated husband.
The Arlington County Police Department credited planning and cooperation among police, bars, event organizers and neighbors for the largely drama-free afternoon.
“It was a lot smoother of an operation,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “We have to credit the bars that participated as their staff refused to let people who were highly intoxicated in. There was a great working partnership for this event between police and the participating businesses.”
“It was a year-long planning process… there were constant meetings among county staff, the civic associations, the businesses and the bar crawl hosts,” Sternbeck added. “It showed positive results in terms of behavior.”
Sternbeck said police “could have arrested quite a bit more for drunk in public” but instead focused on getting those individuals home safely via taxicabs. New this year, Sternbeck and another police department employee live-tweeted the bar crawl and set up an outdoor photo booth — complete with props including a McGruff the Crime Dog mascot head — where they mixed fun with a bit of public outreach.
“We definitely spoke to them directly about responsible partying, appropriate behavior and transportation usage,” he said.
Despite helping to drastically reduce crime, police did take note of one area for possible improvement.
“The biggest problem I saw was people darting into the street before waiting for the appropriate time to cross,” Sternbeck said. Several police department tweets showed attendees dressed in green crossing in the middle of busy roads, in front of cars.
Per new bar crawl regulations that were approved last year, bar crawl organizer Project DC Events was to pick up the tab for police overtime associated with security for the event. Sternbeck was unable to say what the bill was for this weekend, though the Washington Post previously reported that the cost to police was between $15,000 and $20,000.
Photos courtesy Arlington County Police Department