Students and residents near the University of Arizona are gearing up for the spring semester, beginning on January 11. Law enforcement is getting ready to start up a red tagging program, the same one they tested out the first month of the fall semester.
This program is aimed at controlling "unruly gatherings." In other words? Parties.
In September, Tucson Police and U of A Police officers worked together to crack down on out-of-hand parties going on in the neighborhoods surrounding the university. TPD officers were assigned to respond to party calls in specific neighborhoods between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Saturday nights.
City Council Member Steve Kozachik says the program was a success -- and will again be set into motion the first month of this coming semester.
"It'll run for a month on the weekends, same as last time around," Kozachik said. "The message to the new students moving in: be a civil neighbor, respect the right's of your neighbors, and just be a part of the community."
Between August 18 and December 13, police posted 125 red tags and handed out 175 unruly gathering citations to houses and apartments near the university, according to Kozachik.
Mark Homan, who's lived in the Rincon Heights neighborhood for 40 years, says he's dealt with his fair share of unruly gatherings over the years.
"We've had some not so pleasant experiences," he said.
However, he feels that's changed recently, with the help of this program. He says it's helped change the quality of life in his neighborhood, as well as his relationship with the students who live in his neighborhood.
"We're not students and we're not homeowners," he said. "We're neighbors. And we're all living together."
He says it's important to remind everyone in the neighborhood -- not just the students -- of what's expected when it comes to respecting each other's right to live.
"Me and my friends sometimes sit around the fire in the backyard," Homan said. "And we sometimes might talk a little louder than we understand, and so people can call us too."
He says he appreciates having students in his neighborhood and sees them as an important contribution to the community. Homan believes the students in his neck of the woods have responded well to the program and hopes they will continue to do so as the years go on.