Although many Eastern students whined and complained when Richmond bars went to a 21-year-old and-over policy, the numbers are in and even the biggest skeptic would have to admit it’s working downtown.At Eastern the number of violations for drunk and disorderly conduct and possession of alcohol decreased over the last year, and Tom Lindquist, director of public safety at Eastern, said he’s also noticed a significant reduction in the number of driving-under-the-influence cases on campus.
No matter how you view underage drinking, these reductions can only mean good news for Eastern students.
The Richmond Police Department has also seen the same type of decreases in the city.
DUI and drinking-in-public-violation numbers have gone down since the bars turned to 21-years-and-older admittance only, and RPD Chief Robert G. Stephens said downtown has become just an overall safer place to be.
Although we applaud the efforts of Alcohol Beverage Control, the RPD and the Richmond bars for cracking down on illegal underage drinking downtown, another problem has been created in the community – more house parties.
Since downtown drinking is off-limits, some Eastern students say they attend house parties instead of hitting the bar scene.
Stephens said the RPD has dealt with more block and house parties since the bars more strictly enforced admittance policy.
He said the increase of house parties may explain why Richmond has actually seen an increase in its alcohol-intoxication violations.
However, he said a new law, which requires anyone who purchases a beer keg to fill out a registration form identifying them as the owner of the keg, should lower the number of house parties the community is currently seeing.
He said the new law makes the purchaser responsible for any underage drinking via the keg.
Since kegs are a popular choice for drinking at house parties, he said the new law should erase much of the underage drinking there.
It’s still too early to make any official calls about whether or not the new keg law will actually work in preventing underage drinking, but for now some problems seem to have moved from the bars to houses and apartments.