Police Target Alcohol crimes

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More than 300 people were cited for underage drinking in the past two weeks in the University area.
The arrests were part of the Operation NightCAP crackdown around campus.

Policed handed out 330 underage drinking citations and arrested five people for driving while intoxicated.

There were also 57 other citations written, which included: disorderly conduct, keg violations, open bottle and providing false information to a police officer.

The University police, Minnesota State Patrol, Hennepin County Sheriff and Minneapolis police collaborated for the first two weekends of the fall semester.

“The purpose of that is to get a handle on large house parties,” Hestness said.

Parties ruin the quality of life for neighborhood residents, he said.

Hestness said police are worried about the effects that heavy intoxication could have on students’ health and future.

Some students said they think the police presence is important.

“It’s a bummer, but it keeps people careful,” sophomore Margaret Lawrence said.

Kaydi Didrikson, a psychology sophomore, said it was normal at the beginning of the year.

“It’s expected the first few weeks,” Didrikson said.

Other students, such as junior Marc Reynolds, said they don’t think the police have any effect at all.

“(Drinking) is going to happen either way,” he said. “It won’t stop anyone from going out.”

Others said they don’t believe the extra security is warranted.

“I haven’t seen anything out of control that needs more police (presence),” said Sarah Thorson, an art history and studio art junior.

Jeanne Hoff, an elementary education graduate student, said she doesn’t like the idea of police going to houses where she believes students have “the right to do what they want.”

Richard Smith, a law enforcement liaison with the Department of Public Safety said one “mishap” did occur during Operation NightCAP.

Last weekend police were patrolling the neighborhoods and went to a party to break it up. They found an intoxicated woman who was unresponsive and had to be brought to Hennepin County Medical Center, Smith said.

Students responded in various ways to receiving citations, he said.

A few want to run away, others just don’t care and some worry about the cost of the citation and whether their parents will find out, Smith said.

Operation NightCAP happens every year for the first few weekends of fall semester, he said.

“(Police) try to (get to) freshmen and educate them to make good choice(s),” Smith said.

Hestness said that after Operation NightCAP, police will monitor parties and unruly behavior during the year and, if need be, will have another Operation NightCAP.

Operation NightCAP is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety.

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