Where is the balance between wild celebration and public safety? Lexington authorities say they are working on it, and they will get a chance to put their plan into practice this week.
Authorities are tight-lipped about their plans for regulating the passion that might erupt at University of Kentucky off-campus housing after Thursday's NCAA Tournament game, but they're emphasizing the need to keep everyone celebrating responsibly.
Cmdr. Brian Maynard of the police department's operations bureau said city officials have ramped up proactive measures during the past month and a half.
"We've learned over the years each time we have one of these opportunities to celebrate and to make sure people are doing it responsibly, that there are ways and things we can improve," Maynard said. "After each one of them, we critique ourselves, figure out how we can change the next go-around."
Never miss a local story.
In 2012, UK fans flooded State Street and the surrounding areas to celebrate the team's Final Four victory over Louisville and UK's victory over Kansas in the title game.
Celebrations last year reflected those of 2012, as if it has become a tradition.
Beginning in the Sweet 16 and after every NCAA Tournament game last year, including UK's loss to Connecticut in the championship game, people ran out of homes and apartment houses, throwing beer and shouting. Some exposed their bodies, while others burned couches, trash bins, cardboard boxes and other items. No cars were harmed during last year's celebrations, which wasn't the case in 2012. Several fans were charged with arson.
Neither Maynard nor city spokeswoman Susan Straub would get into specifics about celebration preparations, but they said the city's main goal was safety.
"Our focus is on keeping people who are celebrating safe," Straub said. "And we are taking steps to make celebrations safer."
On Monday, the Division of Code Enforcement posted notices on doors warning residents against leaving indoor furniture outside. The Lexington Fire Department, which is working closely with police and other city agencies, was out in common celebration areas placing door hangers on residences that urged citizens to celebrate responsibly.
As of Wednesday afternoon, State Street and the surrounding areas were quiet, with students heading to or from classes and signs celebrating UK's undefeated season hanging on front porches and in windows.
Maynard, who is quarterbacking the police efforts, said police would move into celebration zones before games, including Thursday's matchup against West Virginia.
In 2014, a man was shot in the State Street area near railroad tracks. Police were able to make an arrest. In 2012, there was a road rage case involving a gun. But the most common injuries involved people in open-toe shoes stepping on broken glass.
"Overall, we do have an expectation that those who come down and partake in the celebration are responsible for their actions," Maynard said.