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Arrests down at ‘Woodfest,’ ‘ChittShow’

In what are often deemed as chaotic block parties, “Woodfest” and “ChittShow” were coupled with higher safety and a lower number of arrests compared to the past two years.
Commander Chris Bowling of the Columbus Division of Police said Sunday afternoon that the department is still calculating the number of arrests but knows the number is low compared to the previous two years that the parties on Woodruff and Chittenden avenues took place.
Three people were arrested in May 2011 during Woodfest and three people were arrested at Chittshow. In 2012, The Lantern reported two people were arrested at Woodfest and one person was arrested at ChittShow. The 2012 arrests included one OSU student.
Bowling said, to his knowledge, there was one use of pepper spray and no use of MK-9 Fogger, a more powerful pepper spray officers were equipped with on Friday and Saturday nights.
Pepper spray has been used in the past to control crowds at OSU-area block parties.
“Not that many arrests were needed. There were a few, but most were cooperative. We never needed to use our spray and we never had to throw any gas and overall shape or form to force the crowd to disperse. When the time came, people listened,” Bowling said.
Of the two parties, Bowling said ChittShow on Saturday night was a lot busier than Woodfest on Friday night.
“ChittShow was busy … I’d say there were twice as many people compared to the night before at Woodfest. Chittenden (Avenue) has a lot more yard space (compared to Woodruff Avenue), so things got pretty packed around midnight,” Bowling said.
Nick Klacik, a fourth-year in finance, lives on Chittenden and had people over during the day Saturday but went to other spots once the street got busy.
“I’ve lived here the past couple years and this year it was a little more quiet but still a lot of fun,” Klacik said. “It was much bigger than Woodfest.”
Klacik said there was a little more spontaneity involved in this year’s ChittShow, leading to fewer people.
Jennifer Villaflor, a fourth-year in human development and family science, lives on Woodruff and did not open her house for a party like many others on her street did because her landlord has a “no-party clause.”
“I went to my friend’s house down the street. I think there was about half the crowd (compared to) last year. I think it was a lot less organized this year,” Villaflor said.
Bowling said it did not seem like much was going to get going on Woodruff early in the night.
“Woodfest wasn’t that big of a deal. We weren’t even sure it was going to get going for a while. Then about midnight the crowd started increasing and it picked up and lasted for about an hour,” Bowling said. “The only downside to (Friday night) is Woodfest has smaller yards so we had to really patrol people blocking the sidewalk.”
Valeri Wolf, a third-year in biology, said she had some close friends over to her house on Chittenden and thought the police were a bit over the top with controlling traffic.
“I think they were trying to intimidate a little with the flashlights and screaming at people a bit, but things were pretty organized so they did a good job,” Wolf said.
Bowling said it was relatively uneventful.
“We’re pretty aggressive in staying on top of it because we couldn’t afford for it to get out of control,” Bowling said.
Wolf, Villaflor and Klacik said the block parties seemed to be less populated this year compared to the last two years, but they all were able to enjoy their time, especially since there was no pepper spray involved.
“I talked to OSU officials and some of them were amazed at how things got cleared up the way they did,” Bowling said. “I have to thank everybody. When we finally had to move everybody, for the most part people were orderly and things moved along well.”

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