HOBOKEN — 17 people were arrested during Saturday's SantaCon on a variety of charges including drug possession, assault, and public drunkenness, according to Police Chief Ken Ferrante

Ferrante sent out a steady stream of updates via his Twitter account during Saturday's event, which he noted was a charitable and "unsanctioned" event at 13 bars and restaurants throughout the city.  The event ended at 4 a.m. on Sunday morning.

In another round of messages on Twitter posted Sunday morning Ferrante added the 17th arrest. and said his department responded to 282 calls during SantaCon's 16 hours. He said

  • 51 city ordinance summonses were issued for public drinking
  • 32 moving violations
  • 17 custodial arrests for crimes varying from Aggravated Assault & resisting arrest to simple assault & drug possession
  • 55 people were taken to University Medical Center/CarePoint in Hoboken  by ambulance which Ferrante called a "staggering number"
  • 1 report of sexual contact
  • Over two dozen ABC Tavern Complaints issued against liquor establishments for ABC Violations, with some establishments receiving multiple complaints.

"How some try to paint this as a "CHARITABLE EVENT" is absolutely laughable," Ferrante wrote.

He praised the 63 officers who volunteered to come in and help with the event which helped put 100 officers on the street for the event.

"I am extremely proud of the work of the men and women of Hoboken Police who handled possibly our busiest day in approx 5 years with absolute professionalism and dedication to their positions and to our Hoboken residents and visitors," Ferrante wrote.

"Its a priority of our officers to strictly enforce all criminal,city ordinance, & motor vehicle laws to keep this city orderly.My responsibility is to the residents & businesses of @CityofHoboken ,to ensure we have enough @HobokenPD on the streets,keeping this day under control," the chief wrote.

Mayor-elect Ravinder Bhalla tweeted that SantaCon is "not welcome" in Hoboken and chided bar owners who "enable disorderly conduct."

Ferante said there were 9 arrests within the first five hours of SantaCon, as well as numerous violations for urinating in public and open containers of alcohol. Among the arrests mentioned by Ferrante:

  • A fight on line at Mills Tavern that resulted in three arrests
  • An officer punched in the face by a 22-year-old Linden woman being arrested after a fight
  • Ambulances dispatched to pizzerias and diners for intoxicated people who need to be hospitalized
  • "Just had a prisoner spit directly in one of our @HobokenPD officer's face during processing," as a TV news crew interviewed Ferrante, he tweeted

Participants are encouraged to dress up as Santa Claus for the event, bring new toys and make monetary donations to unspecified charities.

"Picture thousands of Santa's and inebriated elves running wild through the streets of Hoboken and gaining access to some of the best bars you can imagine - that's exactly what you'll see on Saturday December 16, 2017 in Hoboken. Known as the most fun event of the holiday season," according to the event's official website.

Ferrante also noted that many of the bars were over capacity with little or no security creating a "very unsafe" situation for residents and visitors. The Ainsworth bar was shut down by police because they were "unprepared for the day," Ferrante tweeted.

"Either these bar owners are trying to make any dollar they can at the risk to their patrons, staff, & first responders or mgmt are amateurs," Ferrante said.

According to Ferrante there were five arrests, 30 city ordinance violation summons issued and 23 people hospitalized after the 2016 event.

Share your SantaCon experience and pictures & video with reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ


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