PROVIDENCE, R.I. — College students have been throwing glass bottles at police officers, according to a Providence city councilman, who said he wants the city and the state to take action.
Democrat David Salvatore said Wednesday he knows of five such incidents since September in the city’s Elmhurst neighborhood, where he lives.
“That’s alarming for a number of reasons,” he said. “The unruly and violent behavior stretches public resources so that other neighborhoods are not getting patrols.”
Salvatore is also concerned about the officers’ safety, but said he didn’t know of any officers who have been hurt recently by glass bottles.
He’s asking the city council to establish a committee to review off-campus college housing, safety and security, much like it reviewed nightclubs after a spike in violence. He also wants the council to ask state lawmakers to address the issue.
Salvatore said he thinks state law should be changed to increase the penalties for assaulting an officer and clarify the meaning of a dangerous weapon to include glass bottles. He said he has contacted the Senate president’s office.
Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said he would wait to take a position until legislation is introduced.
The Providence Police Department couldn’t say exactly how many incidents of bottle throwing there have been. Spokeswoman Lindsay Lague said it’s possible a bottle was thrown and it was only mentioned in the case narrative, which would make it difficult to pin down.
Lague said there’s a state law prohibiting throwing objects at police, and one of these offenses has taken place since the semester started.
Elmhurst includes Providence College. Students attending several local schools live in the area and students from other areas visit them, so it’s hard to say who’s responsible, Salvatore said.