Hoboken residents gear up for St. Patrick's Day and so do police.
Hoboken's St. Patrick's Day Parade may have been canceled, but that doesn't mean the party is over.
Some bars are taking part Saturday in Lepre-Con 2012, an elaborate bar crawl organized through social media, complete with drink specials for people who buy T-shirts or dress like leprechauns.
It's inspired by Santa-Con events that now take place across the country around the holidays.
The St. Patrick's Day Parade was traditionally held the first Saturday of March but organizers canceled the event after the city pushed it to a Wednesday, citing safety and quality of life concerns.
"Residents and business owners suffer significant property damage and crime spikes to unacceptable levels, parents are afraid to let their children play outside and many residents simply feel forced to leave town or close their businesses for the day," Mayor Dawn Zimmer wrote in a letter in January.
Bar owners said the real problem lay with unregulated house parties.
"It isn't us," said Kevin Cocca of Trinity Bar and Restaurant. "We have doormen, we have security. We have people that cut you off."
Jamie Darrah, a co-organizer of Lepre-Con, said the bar crawl will still allow St. Patrick's Day revelers to have a good time and bring business to the downtown area without creating a public nuisance. "We think because we have set this up, people will be more contained to the bars, which will be good. Hopefully less house parties, and lots of drinking and having a good time."
Hoboken Police plan for a fully staffed show of force, even though there is no parade. They promised zero tolerance for people who break the law and disturb neighbors who live near the main business district..
"A lot of bad things can happen when people are that ripped," said Nate Hearn, a Hoboken resident. "There's gotta be some kind of balance. I just don't think it's very balanced."
Police will be handing out $2,000 tickets for public consumption of alcohol and public urination, both of which have been issues in the past on St. Patrick's Day Parade weekends
Since many city bars have agreed not to open before 11 a.m., organizers of Lepre-Con said it made sense to open later than originally scheduled. Bars that are listed on the group's website will offer drink specials for people wearing either one of the official Lepre-Con shirts or to those who are dressed as a leprechaun.