BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Residents of University Heights, near UB's south campus, say that out-of-control partying almost every weekend is a problem that has become worse.
Since an alcohol-related student death in the neighborhood in September, permanent residents have brought News 4 their concerns of what they say is a growing problem.
They've shown pictures of what they say have become "party central" in their neighborhood. Photos show hundreds of students walking the streets, littering, and urinating in public.
All these neighbors want is to peacefully co-exist with students in their community.
University Heights is the neighborhood in the north corner of Buffalo surrounding the UB south campus. To students on weekends, it's known as the place they can cut loose without getting in trouble.
College kids partying in the neighborhoods surrounding campus is nothing new. But now residents of the area say underage drinking parties have become outrageous and they're taking a stand.
"It's an old problem, but it's gotten worse over the years," said Mickey Vertino, president of the University Heights Collaborative. He's lived in the neighborhood for decades, but now he and his neighbors are organized and fighting back.
"We see this as a good neighborhood. We want to keep it a good neighborhood," Vertino said.
The group has shared photographs and horror stories of hundreds, sometimes thousands of underage students drinking on their streets -- walking from house party to house party.
"They break bottles. They break trees. It's crazy," one neighbor said.
University at Buffalo officials and Buffalo police say they're all working together. But in our reporting over the last several weeks, two things have become clear: No one seems to agree on the root of the problem and no one agrees on a solution.
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE VIDEO:
Concerned neighbors pin much of the blame on UB shuttle buses, which connect the north campus to the south.
During the day the buses take students to class. On weekend nights, they carry hundreds of students who live on the north campus, where partying is less common, to the south campus, which is notorious for large house parties - creating a huge influx of underage drinkers in University Heights.
Since September, an average of 4,000 students use the buses every weekend between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.
"They're coming in here not to study. Simply to party," neighbor Fred Brace said.
The students who use the buses on weekends have no problem admitting it. When asked how she uses the buses, UB freshman Courtney Coffey said, "To go to south [campus] and to go to parties."
When asked what the Stampede buses are like on nights and weekends, UB student Michael Pecorella said, "Packed. Full of crazy kids." UB freshman Chloe Erway said "not many" students use the bus on weekend nights to go to south campus to study.
"With the buses, it's more likely for students to travel down there and make a ruckus on weekends. Instead, if there wasn't buses, everyone would be hanging out where they live in the dorms over here," Pecorella said.
The bus schedule runs 24 hours a day, even on weekends. Even if most students using it late on weekend nights are going to parties instead of the library, students and UB officials defend the bus schedule for preventing drunk driving.
UB officials deny the buses cause problems. After we aired a photograph, taken by Vertino, of students exiting the bus and urinating on campus, UB officials promised the neighbors campus police would watch the buses more closely.
But a few weeks later we went back, and found students doing the same thing - urinating right on the architecture building with our camera in plain view.
"I don't see it getting any better if UB is left to its own devices to take care of things," Brace said.
Vertino told News 4 that UB officials should be embarrassed students are urinating on their buildings. "Yes and I think they were embarrassed," he added.
Sources have told News 4 that Buffalo police have shared concerns with UB officials about the buses.
E District Police Chief Kim Beaty gingerly stepped around the question when asked if she thinks the buses should run on weekends when kids use them for partying. "I think the buses should run for kids who need transportation to and from the city of Buffalo, to the Amherst campus. That's up to the University at Buffalo, as far as their use," she said.
University officials would not give an on-camera interview but told News 4 the buses should not be the focus. They say the parties are in the jurisdiction of the city, not the campus, and they will continue to encourage Buffalo officials to enforce city laws."
Buffalo police say they are doing enough. So far this year, police have spent nearly $290,000 on a special detail that patrols the area, including University Heights.
"We have a number of patrols in that area, and at this point, we've been effective with what we have," Beaty said.
Whether the problem comes from buses facilitating party-goers, or a lack of enforcement, neighbors say they will continue to keep pressure on UB and police and believe that they can live among students more peacefully.
The Erie County Sheriff's Office has told the University Heights Collaborative they can use the new underage drinking party hotline to report parties, and they will respond to the call. The hotline's number is 1-800-851-1932.
An airman from Niagara Falls was away training for the Air Force for months. After being apart from his family, he decided to surprise them at Kelly’s Country Store in Grand Island.
A Buffalo city jail cell block attendant was arrested early Saturday morning on multiple animal cruelty charges.
The death of 30 year-old Desirae James remains a mystery. Her body was found inside a burning car last month and sources say she was stabbed several times.
Dozens of loved ones gathered at the crime scene Saturday night to remember the …
Buffalo police homicide detectives have identified an Eggertsville man as the victim of a shooting Saturday morning.
Detectives say Brandon Cahee, 28, was found in an upper apartment of a home on Ericson Avenue, and he had been shot.
It's been one month since Typhoon Haiyan barreled through the Philippines, leveling towns and killing nearly 6,000 people.
Rookie Mike Glennon rebounded from one of his worst performances of the season to throw two touchdown passes and lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a 27-6 victory over the struggling Buffalo Bills on Sunday.