The Reading Police will continue to crack down on underage drinking, conducting “party patrols” and “compliance checks.”
“Teens and parents need to be reminded that underage drinking is not a game. It’s deadly serious,” said Chief James W. Cormier. “Parents need to know that hosting a party where alcohol is served to minors is both illegal and extremely dangerous for the minors and others in the community. Parents should also know they’ll face all legal liabilities.”
The police received a $5,000 grant from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention that was distributed to Reading through the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division.
With the funding, RPD will be able to continue the party patrols, as well as do additional compliance checks at restaurants and retail locations; reverse stings; “shoulder tap” and “Cops in Shops” programs.
According to a RPD statement, through a combination of these techniques, the Reading Police Department will be able to monitor, analyze and, when appropriate, take legal action on both minors who seek to circumvent the law and those people and businesses that enable them.
Reading Police statistics show that over the last five years, town businesses have a 92 percent alcohol compliance success rate.
The rate of young people using alcohol in Reading has dropped since 2011, but not significantly. Two years ago, 65 percent of youths reported using alcohol; in 2013, 60 percent reported alcohol use. In 2011, 48 percent reported recent alcohol use; while in 2013, 41 percent. The number of pre-teens who have used alcohol is about the same — 15 percent in 2011; 14 percent in 2013.
In the RPD statement, the department promised: “The Reading Police Department will continue to monitor local liquor establishments. Communities like Reading that have reduced the availability of alcohol to underage drinkers have experienced fewer crashes and fewer crimes. Preventing underage drinking is everyone’s responsibility.”