Despite at least three ”disappointing” couch burnings so far this O Week, emergency services say in general students have celebrated respectfully.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand East Otago assistant area commander Craig Geddes said the number of couch burnings were low compared to some previous years.
”It’s still very disappointing that it’s taking up our resources.”
The callouts were last Saturday, Thursday night and early yesterday morning, all in North Dunedin.
All were extinguished quickly without incident.
Apart from that there were ”very few” callouts regarding O Week and student behaviour was respectful, he said.
The main message the organisation was pushing for Orientation was increasing the number of smoke alarms in student flats, he said, ideally one in each room, one in the hallway and one in the lounge.
Police Otago coastal area prevention manager Inspector Kelvin Lloyd said police attended ”some jobs” regarding minor matters in the student area throughout the week.
”The jobs were mainly in relation to disorder, intoxication and noise complaints.
”Anecdotally, the behaviour of O Week attendees so far has been much the same as in with recent years.”
The overwhelming majority of students gave police ”little cause for concern”, he said. There were a low number of arrests, but an exact figure was not available at this stage, he said.
He said police ensured they had ”sufficient staff” rostered on for the various events, but he did not respond to a question about the number of extra staff.
”For those celebrating Orientation Week please stay safe. If you do choose to drink, please do so in a responsible, safe and sensible way.”
Sergeant Blair Dalton, of Dunedin, said police wanted to ”keep the pressure” on burglars who might try to target student flats in North Dunedin. Police were encouraging residents in the area to report anyone who looked out of place in the student quarter, he said.
The call followed a series of burglaries and other incidents in the area since students began returning for the start of the new academic year.
”If they stand out, they probably shouldn’t be there. We would like to know about that if people look out of place.”
The University of Otago said proctor Dave Scott would not be able to comment on student behaviour until Monday.
Otago Daily Times