Residents of Ottawa's Sandy Hill neighbourhood, just east of downtown, are picking up the pieces after raucous St. Patrick Day parties shook their community last weekend.

"It was a frightening day to be out in Sandy Hill," said resident Leanne Moussa. "It was just not a safe place to have kids."

Residents say students from the University of Ottawa, which is located nearby, jammed the streets and partied for hours. They say they feared a riot would break out, similar to the one that happened in London, Ont, where vehicles were set on fire.

"I'm not trying to be dramatic," said resident Nic Clarke. "But you only need one person to light a couch and you get a mob mentality going."

Moussa said the students were throwing bottles, urinating publicly and blocking streets.

One of the students partying in the area, Connor Mackenzie, said it didn't seem that rowdy.

"It pretty much started when we woke up at 11 a.m. or 12 a.m.," he said. "All in all it was pretty fun."

The head of the area's community association says part of the problem is that there is a growing number of students in a confined area.

"You can't take a family home in the middle of a family block and turn it into a four-unit building that's got 28 students in it," said Christopher Collmorge. "That's a problem. That's a real problem."

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Joanne Schnurr