Photo: Steve Baker (Flickr)
The Indiana State Excise Police’s annual report shows a 37 percent increase in citations for underage drinking last year.
Police handed out 3,172 tickets for underage possession and consumption last year compared to 2,315 in 2011.
Travis Thickstun, Corporal Public Information Officer for the State Excise Police, says there are many factors that could have contributed to the increase. He says increased police patrols on college campuses could be one of them.
The Indiana State Excise Police launched the Intensified College Enforcement or ICE program in February of 2012. The program increased the number of excise police patrolling six college campuses across the state in an attempt to reduce underage drinking.
“Certainly an increased number of excise officers on college campuses focusing specifically on reducing underage drinking on those campuses would have an impact,” Thickstun says.
Rosie King, an research associate at the Indiana Prevention Resource Center, says she hopes the ICE program is deterring minors from drinking. But she says increased law enforcement can also just push drinking out of the public view.
“It very well could be that students will just, you know, try to find ways to not get caught. I think they already do that,” King says.
Still, Thickstun says the excise police view the program as a success and are continuing it this year.