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This Year’s Burning Man Witnessed A Near 600% Increase In Arrests From 2014

Nevada’s Black Rock City desert turned annual Burner haven, a.k.a. The Playa of Burning Man, has become notorious over its 30 year history for its radically unique and all embracing counter-cultural personality. With each year of the festival, the temporary Burner-created community is home to some of the world’s most colorful music, breathtaking art installations, noteworthy talents, self-expressive wardrobes (or lack thereof) and quirky casts of characters. And although most of Burning Man’s 2015 attendees witnessed a life-changing, lighthearted week of fun and games during its Carnival of Mirrors themed event, more burners than ever were caught on the unfavorable end of the law this year. Arrests at this year’s event are estimated to be about 600% greater than the previous year, and nearly more than the last five years combined.

Although this statistic may sound a bit overwhelming, last year’s arrests were at a mere 7 people, while this year saw a total of 41 burners arrested out of its 70,000 attendees; a relatively low ratio. More than 120 law enforcement officers were present, as they patrolled The Playa using “light touch.” The majority of arrests they issued were related to drug trafficking and possession, with a total of 600 citations issued as well (last year’s Burning Man saw 392 citations). On the bright side, 2015 saw a significant absence of sexual assault charges this year for Burning Man, which is a huge improvement from 2013, where 12 people were taken to jail for that crime.

Source: New York Times

Morgan Susalka
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