The concern for student safety has recently increased, and the Sector II Noise and Alcohol Patrol program has been working since earlier this year to ensure safety on and near UCF’s campus.
As a response to the spike in crime and population near UCF, the UCF Police Department and Orange County Sheriff’s Office first implemented the new initiative, referred to as SNAP, in April to target dangerous partying behaviors — mostly on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays — in Sector II of Orange County.
UCF PD Sgt. James Mangan said they are focusing on targeting college students in the areas from Dean Road to University Boulevard, and across Alafaya Trail to Waterford Lakes Town Center — mainly at The Knight’s Pub, Knight Library and Stagger Inn UCF.
Combined, UCF PD and OCSO made 38 arrests, 172 bar checks and 24 student-affairs referrals from May to August, said UCF PD spokeswoman Courtney Gilmartin.
Additionally, from April 17 to May 30, 167 dispatched calls, 278 self-initiated and 39 arrests were recorded.
“We haven’t had a single time that I know of where any of the bars or clubs didn’t want us to come in,” Mangan said. “We walk right in — UCF and Orange County — and we will just start looking for people underage, whether they have wristbands or not.”
Due to the popularity of fake IDs in the college scene, Mangan said UCF PD and OCSO are also on the lookout for students using fakes.
“The overall goal is to change the culture of underage drinking in and around UCF,” he said. “The main thing is that it’s not acceptable by UCF to drink underage; or even if you’re overage, to drink irresponsibly by driving drunk or providing alcohol to people under 21.”
After reviewing details at the end of every semester, the partnership between UCF PD and OCSO has proven to be more effective than following the SNAP program alone.
On the weekend of Sept. 12, four arrests and 14 student-affairs referrals were made, which doesn’t include Orange County’s numbers.
“We’re out there, we’re taking this seriously and we need to stop this behavior,” Mangan said.
UCF PD and OCSO may be cracking down on underage drinking and DUIs, but Mangan said students must also be aware of the several dangers that come with being irresponsible during a night out.
“You’re more likely to be a victim of a crime, whether it be a theft or a sexual assault, or even just walking down the road and going into traffic,” he said. “Obviously drinking and driving is another big issue, and any time that you put yourself in that kind of situation, you’re exposing yourself to various hazards.”
A DUI wave was conducted the weekend of Aug. 21, when five DUIs were administered by OCSO and Florida Highway Patrol; one warrant arrest and one SAR felony fake ID by UCF PD; and one notice to appear for alcohol violation through the SNAP program, Gilmartin said.
Gilmartin said additional SNAP details — and other efforts aimed at reducing underage drinking, DUIs, sexual assault and other safety issues — will continue throughout the fall semester.
Additionally, if anyone knows of any establishments, convenient stores or specific bartenders selling to students underage, Mangan said to call UCF PD or the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.
“I think the vast majority of UCF students don’t approve of [irresponsible drinking] and don’t approve of other students acting in ways that shed negative light on UCF,” Mangan said.
Rachel Stuart is a News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @RachSage or email her at RachelS@CentralFloridaFuture.com.