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Nearly 500 cited for public drinking at St. Patrick’s Day parade

The Boston Police marching band performed at the St. Patrick’s Day parade Sunday in South Boston.
The Boston Police marching band performed at the St. Patrick’s Day parade Sunday in South Boston.Keith Bedford/Globe staff/Globe Staff

Public drinking citations at South Boston’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade were up dramatically this year, with hundreds more people ticketed for imbibing amid the revelry, according to Boston police. Meanwhile, arrests at the event dropped by more than half.

Police tallied 498 total civil violations for drinking in public at Sunday’s parade, along with four arrests. Last year, authorities reported 278 citations — most of them for public drinking — and 10 arrests.

The shifts coincided with a change in the parade route from 2015 to 2016. Last year, the parade route was shortened as the city continued to clean up from its historic winter.

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“Keeping spectators and participants safe along the route was Mayor Walsh’s and my top priority,” said Boston Police Commissioner William Evans in a statement Monday. “Issuing nearly double the amount of public drinking citations compared to last year evidences the challenges we faced in keeping public order at this family event. I want to thank all of those who braved the cold and came out and celebrated responsibly.”

Public officials sought to preserve the shortened route for Sunday’s parade, citing safety concerns, but a federal judge last week ordered the city to allow the celebration to proceed along the longer path that it had followed for years.

Monday’s tally represented an increase from a day earlier, when police gave a preliminary total of 294 citations.

This year, there were also five violations issued to licensed establishments, police said.

The four people arrested faced charges including disorderly conduct, fighting, and assault and battery on a police officer.

A fifth person was arrested by officers assigned to the parade for allegedly throwing a propane tank through the window of a Dorchester Street home, but Suffolk prosecutors said that incident stemmed from an earlier drug deal — not the parade.

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Meanwhile, it didn’t take the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Transit Police long to find one unruly passenger on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Police said Sunday on Twitter that a man wearing a “Where’s Waldo”-style costume was plucked from the crowds waiting for a train following the parade and taken into custody.

According to officials, the unidentified individual was removed from South Station for “being very disorderly.” They said his behavior, which police did not describe on social media, led to him needing “to be escorted out.”

In a picture shared by police, two officers can be seen each holding onto one of the person’s arms.


Steve Annear of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Andy Rosen can be reached at andrew.rosen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @andyrosen.