Police officials said this week that, to date, the number of minors arrested for alcohol consumption by Fort Collins Police Services appears stagnate compared to last year, while CSU police reported a decline from last year.
In 2008, the City of Fort Collins recorded 392 total arrests and citations compared with 208 recorded in 2009 as of Aug. 5.
The CSUPD recorded 383 total arrests and citations in 2008, but only 83 in 2009 to-date.
Interim CSU Police Department chief Frank Johnson said the significant decrease between spring 2008 and 2009 is due to the university’s efforts to educate students about the dangers of alcohol.
“If you look at the statistics, you will see a gradual decline (of underage drinking) from year to year,” he said.
Laurie Frank, an FCPS crime analyst, said the 2009 city statistic will continue to resemble that of 2008 until the end of year unless the police increase enforcement.
Bob Younger, an FCPS officer who specializes in tobacco and alcohol enforcement, said he plans to intensify the crackdown on underage drinking in the first three months of fall semester. This happens every year, he said.
“We focus on the time of the school year where there are a lot of college students and a lot of accessibility to alcohol,” he said. “After October, we see the students actually start to obey the law and (minors) consuming alcohol less often.”
FCPS asks students to think about consequences before drinking.
“We don’t want them to jeopardize their career at CSU just because they receive a (minor in possession) ticket,” Younger said.
“Their education needs to be first and foremost,” he said. “There are a lot of students nationwide who end up dropping out after the first year of college because of alcohol-related incidences.”
Lisa Miller, the director of research and health promotion at the CSU health network, said that, typically, the amount of drinking decreases dramatically after the first set of tests.
She made no solid predictions for the end of 2009. Because students from different demographics enroll each year, CSU can’t plan for anything.
“Every year, part of the struggle we have is that the campus changes, even on a semester basis,” Miller said. But, she said, “We know from past experience that students are making good decisions.”
The issue surrounding minors and consumption arrests doesn’t rely on one office or program, Miller said.
“This is the responsibility of everyone on campus — the police enforcement, the residents, counseling services through the health network, academic department,” she said. “It’s everyone’s job to help get out those messages, and we do them in a collaborative way.”
Staff writer Stacey K. Borage can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.