This past weekend, Central Jersey was poppin’… literally. Friday (April 15th) was the annual concert event that is Rutgersfest held in Piscataway, New Jersey at Rutgers University. This year the performances featured Pitbull, Yelawolf and 3OH!3. Usually just a good old time with carnival food, great music, a few mosh pits and tipsy students, but this year things got too out of hand. The night ended with a total of four shootings, five injuries and eleven arrests.
According to NJ.com, New Brunswick police director, Pete Mangarella, stated that the event was “the worst thing of the year for the city of New Brunswick.” He also added that the incidents “were the worst we have seen” in the history of the event. The free event which is open to everyone has been said to be bad for the city of New Brunswick. Additionally Mangarella came to the conclusion that after this past weekend, this should be the last Rutgersfest held at the University.
Along with the shootings, now the police are pointing out another usual crimes that occur during an event like this such as underage drinking (I mean, this is a college campus!) and a series of physical assaults outside of parties. Besides the shootings, the crimes above aren’t a surprise. Wherever there’s a college campus, there’s bound to underage drinking. This has been a problem that any college campus has to face and overcome.
As far as the shootings go, we cannot blame this event. I can speak from my experience attending Rutgers, I remember that certain areas in New Brunswick were always to be avoided. As soon as I hit close to French Street or even some parts of George Street, my pace would quicken. I even remember receiving an email nearly everyday containing crime alerts. So how come it’s the University’s fault when a majority of time the population attending the University are the ones being affected negatively? According to The Daily Targum, “The crowd Rutgersfest brings is not normal, and the amount of shootings and altercations are not normal.”
In result to the concerns for the city of New Brunswick, the University has proposed to provide more security and police assistance extending past the university. Which could help the situation, I suppose. However the real problem is that the police are looking for a scapegoat. There’s looking awfully hard because underage drinking is a normalcy at any University and the amount of underage drinking increases at certain events, besides Rutgersfest, like Homecoming or Spring Break. You can’t necessarily blame the music because Rutgersfest for the past five to six years, the headliners were hip hop artists.
So are we not paying attention to one important detail? When you look at the statistics, New Brunswick’s crime rate is not necessarily the best. Out of all the categories: robberies, physical assault and theft are worse than the national average. Just because these shootings took place DURING a University event doesn’t mean they couldn’t have happened at all. We only hear about the crimes that happen on the campus, involving the students. We never hear about the crime that happens at areas off campus involving non-RU students; we all know it’s happening but no one is drawing attention to it.