Targeting Underage Drinking in College Town


(Gluckstadt) Law Enforcement agents with the Mississippi Alcoholic Beverage Control were busy weekends this past football season. Since October, 2005 ABC agents made 214 arrests in the college towns of Starkville, Oxford, and Hattiesburg. The majority of these arrests were minors found to be in possession of alcoholic beverages at local nightspots. In addition, 18 adults were arrested for furnishing alcohol to minors. The use of fake identification by the minors was present in over 20% of these arrests.

The Alcoholic Beverage Control received grant money from the Division of Public Safety Planning to enforce underage drinking laws in college towns with emphasis on enforcement during football game weekends. Underage consumption of alcohol increases at college towns during home football games when attendance can easily double a city's population.

“Underage consumption is a serious public safety issue” stated Mark Hicks, chief of Enforcement for the ABC. “Having our agents out there on these high traffic weekends when local law enforcement assets are already spread thin helps to reduce alcohol related accidents and traffic fatalities.”

The ABC agents will continue enforcement operations in the college towns until the grant is exhausted. The grant will officially run through October, 2006.

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