By Claire Ala
Alcohol is a temptation, especially in a college town. Underage drinking is becoming a bigger problem in Fayetteville, according to the Fayetteville Police Department. As the university’s student population grows so does an issue between alcohol and the under 21 crowd. The Fayetteville Police Department and liquor stores work together in an effort to catch underage drinkers.
Mike Hancock, assistant manager at Town and Country Liquor said on average Town and Country Liquor catches five individuals weekly attempting to buy alcohol with a fake ID. In the last collaboration between the police department and Town and Liquor, Sgt. Craig Stout and another officer caught three students in one Saturday night. The same night, seven other underage drinkers were caught using fake ID’s to get into bars on Dickson Street.
The cops can come into a liquor store without warning and stay to watch out for people using fake ID’s. They frequently stop by without warning or notification because they don’t want any employees warning their friends or others they will be there.
The issue between youth and alcohol is an increasing problem in the United States. For most students, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to use a fake ID because a lot of their peers have one. While it’s fun to go out to a bar these underage individuals are not taking into account the consequences if they are caught.
“They don’t know that it goes that far. They think they’re just going to get a citation or have their license suspended for a month. It stays on your record, if you’re in college, the college knows about it,” Hancock said.
Underage drinking and fake ID’s aren’t the only problems. Some people continue to drink and drive. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Driving under the influence was associated with age in 2010. The rate was highest among persons aged 21 to 25 (23.4 percent). An estimated 5.8 percent of 16 or 17 year-olds and 15.1 percent of 18 to 20 year-olds reported driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year.”
Fortunately, the overall crime rate in Fayetteville is down. In the State of the City report released by Mayor Lioneld Jordan he emphasizes the “public safety of our citizens.” Jordan also mentioned that the population increased by “more than 35 percent since 2000, our crime rate is down 14.7 percent during the last four years.” It is nice to hear that crime is decreasing in Fayetteville. However, criminal mischief is not eradicated.
“The biggest problem is property crime,” Stout said. Property crime includes felony theft. Stout explained that 80 percent of break-ins occurred in unlocked vehicles. Many people forget to lock their cars or possibly have too much trust in others, leaving their cars unlocked while running in a store for quick errands.