Party death 'still fresh in students' minds'

Sophia Crestani was killed in a flat party in Dunedin last year. Photo: supplied
Sophia Crestani was killed in a flat party in Dunedin last year. Photo: supplied
Police say the death of Sophia Crestani is having an impact on the way students in Dunedin are partying.

Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen, of Dunedin, said police had seen a shift this year in the way students were acting during Orientation Week and said death of the 19-year-old in October last year was still on students' minds.

‘‘Kids are still talking about it, it’s still fresh in their mind.’’  

Miss Crestani died when she was caught in a stairwell pile-up at a Dundas St flat known as The Manor. 

Snr Sgt Dinnissen said the police alcohol prevention team were talking with students, and students were clear in the fact they didn’t want anything similar to happen again.

Problematic parties were still causing issues for police, and they shut down a Castle St party on Saturday.

‘‘But there were only 15 people in the house, they’re not overcrowding houses.’’

Good One is an initiative backed by a number of community and government organisations including police, student associations, universities, polytechs, district health boards, the Health Promotion Agency and Red Frogs. 

"Our aim is to ensure people have great parties where everyone feels safe and stays safe."

The website is a a police-led initiative to decrease adverse events resulting from parties by allowing students to register their parties.

‘‘We can go to them and say what are your plans, here is what we suggest, if you get in trouble give us a call or flick us a text.’’

Police are encouraging students to look after each other as Orientation Week continues. File...
Police are encouraging students to look after each other as Orientation Week continues. File photo: ODT
He said issues around noise were easily able to be handled, as complaints placed were resolved quickly.

A noise complaint received over the weekend enabled police were able to speak the party-holder who registered the party and were able to take the bass out of their speaker, resolving the issue.

Snr Sgt Dinnissen said police could make a request to the DJ or person in charge of the music directly, which was solving communication issues.

He said students should register any parties they planned to have on the Good One website and keep Facebook events private to prevent them getting out of control.

Snr Sgt Dinnissen said O Week had not been without problems.

"As per usual O-Week has kicked off and we've got fighting and disorder on Castle St.’’

Last night, two students were arrested in Castle St for disorder and fighting, but both were let off with pre-charge warnings.

The police alcohol prevention team’s van was damaged on the 15th while parked at a party on Castle St at 10.10pm. 

‘‘He jumped on the front of the van and smashed the windscreen.

‘‘He was identified by CCTV last night and was arrested.’’

A 19-year-old man was charged with wilful damage and was due to appear in court this morning. 

Snr Sgt Dinnissen said students needed to look after their friends.  

Drug use and alcohol were still causing problems. 

He said students taking drugs and alcohol together was problematic and said ambulance officers ‘‘are seeing that combination, which is catastrophic.’’

He said a man on Castle St was taken off a single-storey roof on Saturday, allegedly high on esctasy and ‘‘was zapped.’’

‘‘He didn’t know where he was, he was absolutely wasted. 

‘‘If he had a fall he could have died.’’

Snr Sgt Dinnissen encouraged students to look after each other as Orientation Week continues.