BU Today

Campus Life + Health & Wellness

BUPD, Boston Police Resume Enhanced Alcohol Enforcement Today

Patrols seek to reduce illegal drinking, loud parties

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In as reliable a fall ritual as football and crisp air, starting today the Boston University Police Department (BUPD) will again team up with the Boston Police Department (BPD) for enhanced alcohol enforcement patrols. The patrols are an effort to avert hospital visits by acutely intoxicated students, curtail illegal drinking, and hit the mute button on boisterous parties.

The enforcement “will continue on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights through Saturday, November 18,” says Robert Molloy, BUPD deputy police chief. As usual, local police will help in the efforts, with Boston cops enforcing booze and noise laws in Allston’s GAP neighborhood (Gardner, Ashford, and Pratt streets), he says.

“BUPD officers will be enforcing alcohol violations of underage consumption and possession within the Boston University area,” Molloy adds. BUPD and BPD officers also will meet with the owners and managers of local bars “to ensure they are not over-serving people and are carefully checking IDs.”

Massachusetts law prohibits alcohol possession and drinking by those under 21 years old. It’s also illegal to provide alcohol to underage drinkers.

The University is coming off a spike in hospital visits by inebriated students in the last academic year (see chart). That number, 186, was a five-year high, according to statistics from Student Health Services (SHS).

In particular, last fall’s 96 visits represented a sharp jump from the 75 in autumn 2015.  The fall 2015 transports, a four-year low, had led the University to hope it had bent the curve on excessive drinking. But the last five falls have seen an erratic pattern in the number of transports, and SHS is trying to better understand the dynamic.

Some year-to-year differences in numbers may not be statistically significant and might have to do with factors such as varying awareness of the University’s Lifebook, the list of nonacademic policies, says Erica Schonman, SHS wellness program coordinator.

Besides beefing up enforcement in both the fall and spring semesters, the University combats excessive drinking in other ways. The summer before Matriculation first-year students are required to take AlcoholEdu for College, an online course that debunks myths about rampant campus drinking that might encourage alcohol abuse.

Additionally, President Robert A. Brown’s annual summer letter to parents of entering students and his speech at Matriculation alert students and families to concerns about alcohol abuse.

The University began enhanced alcohol enforcement in 2011, modeled on a successful University of California initiative. As part of the enforcement effort, BU Today will publish a run-down each Thursday of the previous weekend’s alcohol violations and hospital transports.

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Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

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