WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Grand Prix is a time for Purdue students to celebrate the end of the year before final tests are passed out. The race is not until Saturday, but bar owners and West Lafayette safety officials know the celebrations will start days before.
"All in all in the last few years everyone just seems to have come in to a good way of handling a lot of people," Harry's Chocolate Shop Co-Owner Mary Cook said.
For more than 30 years Cook has worked with the Grand Prix crowds. She has noticed her clients drinking more responsibly the last few years.
West Lafayette Police Chief Jason Dombkowski agrees. He said Grand Prix alcohol related arrests have gone down 50 percent in the last five years.
"I give a lot of credit to our students who have heeded some of the warnings,and behaved a little differently," Dombkowski said. "We don't have the mass arrests liked we used to."
Still Dombkowski said extra foot patrols and DUI patrols will be out in the village area starting Thursday. The State Street barricades will also go out Thursday.
Dombkowski and Cook said they have noticed some differences since the barricades were implemented a few years ago.
"It does help control how people cross the street since there are not crosswalks for these couple of blocks of the village," Cook said.
"That's proven to be a really popular program," Dombkowski said. "I think everyone has come to count on it for an extra buffer of safety."
Bar occupancy remains a high priority for West Lafayette Fire. Fire Chief Tim Heath said the key to keeping everyone safe is a good relationship between safety officials and bar owners.
"We work with the bars to help them understand what problems [over occupancy] can cause," Heath said.
Heath said he will have extra crews out along side the police patrols this weekend.
A shooting on Lafayette's south side is under investigation.
It's been nearly a month since a tornado damaged Southwestern Middle School and Mintonye Elementary School, giving faculty the task of helping students transition to their new surroundings.
Donations are being accepted to help around 300 seniors receive a holiday gift.