Federal Grant to Help Curb Underage Drinking at Hartford Concerts | Connecticut Public Radio
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Federal Grant to Help Curb Underage Drinking at Hartford Concerts

Jul 16, 2015

Hartford can get up to $30,000 from the federal government to pay for police overtime, provided the city spends $10,000 of its own dollars.

Summertime concerts at big venues in Hartford often mean underage drinkers.  To help combat the problem, the Hartford City Council just accepted a federal grant to pay for police overtime.

Mayor Pedro Segarra said the city has a large number of kids drinking to excess at events, mostly at the Xfinity Theatre, which hosts outdoor concerts. In a letter to the city council, Segarra said "the number of arrests, criminal acts, motor vehicle accidents. and medical transports is staggering."

Joseph Cristalli works for the state Department of Transportation, which administers the federal grant.  

"The major problem is the parking lots. The pre-gaming, as the kids call it. They're going in ahead of time and a lot of them aren't even going to the show. They're just going to the parking lots, drinking, and leaving, so that is a major issue there," he said. 

Cristalli said the city can get up to $30,000 from the federal government to pay for police overtime, provided the city spends $10,000 of its own dollars.

He also said the state is judicious with how it spends the federal cash.

"These grants aren't given out to anyone who wants them. You have to show crash data, you have to show arrest data. You have to show injury data, hospital data for an area. And I know they used the concert venue as one of their reasons," Cristalli said. 

Segarra told the council that there are multiple concerts scheduled at the Xfinity Theatre in July, and said he hopes this money will help reduce the number of assaults, injuries, medical transports, and near fatalities. 

A spokesman for the theater said he was unaware of the grant funding.