Drinking & noise attract police to college neighborhoods

Drinking & noise attract police to college neighborhoods

ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- More patrols by the Ellensburg Police Department are focusing on neighborhoods where a lot of college students live. Police say they've seen the number of noise complaints drop, but there are still problems for neighbors.

It's a delicate balance. Students living amongst locals, together in Ellensburg.

"Live the college experience, live it up to the fullest," said junior Aaron. "College is supposed to be the funnest time of your lives, it's supposed to be your party days."

This student's philosophy doesn't seem to fit with some others living in Ellensburg. Neighbors complain to police about off-campus house parties, mostly found on 18th Avenue and above.

Another student feels they're unfairly targeted.

"They'll look for the party houses and if they hear about anything, like people even going there, it can be 10 people there and they'll just give them a noise vile," said CWU junior Aaron.

These young men had Ellensburg police show up at their home over Halloween weekend. Students say upwards of 500 people were packed into the home on North Airport Road.

Police were called to four other college parties the same weekend. All are considered "quality of life" issues for those living nearby. Not to mention the possibility of underage drinking.

"You're in college like it's going to happen," said Aaron.

These juniors say they don't plan to stop partying. But police may have another say.

The most recent survey of problem areas targeted those party homes above 18th Avenue. They're mostly rented to CWU undergrads.

While this neighborhood has the most citations for quality of life disturbances, its noise violations have steadily declined from 2011. 

"We're off of campus, I don't think what we do with how we live and how we act has anything to do with the school," said Aaron.

Central Washington University disagrees. School policy says receiving a ticket off campus can still be a violation of the student conduct code. Police intend to keep enforcing the law and trying to strike that delicate balance.