UCPD responds to 13 alcohol-related illness incidents since move-in

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Following last weekend’s nine alcohol-related illness incidents, UCPD responded to four more similar cases at the residence halls this Labor Day weekend.

According to UCPD spokesperson Lt. Eric Tejada, four underage UC Berkeley students were hospitalized due to alcohol-related illnesses over the weekend. The incidents occurred at Units 1 and 2, International House and Clark Kerr Campus.

“And those are just the ones we were called for,” Tejada said. “Some instances go unreported to police.”

Prior years have seen an uptick in alcohol-related incidents among students. In 2010, UCPD responded to six alcohol-related illness calls between move-in weekend and Labor Day. In 2011, it responded to 13. Since Aug. 25, there have been 13 alcohol-related hospitalizations this year.

In response to the nine alcohol-related illness incidents last weekend, Berkeley Police Department placed undercover officers in popular nightlife areas such as frat row.

According to BPD spokesperson Officer Jennifer Coats, there were plainclothes officers deployed on Friday and Saturday nights. The officers were partnering with agents from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The target of the operation was to focus on alcohol-related offenses, including drinking in public, drinking underage and businesses selling alcohol to underage individuals.

Coats said that to prevent these incidents from occurring, BPD works closely with UCPD and Berkeley Fire Department as well as other community organizations to educate students about the dangers and consequences of unsafe party practices.

Tejada stressed the need for students to understand the consequences of unsafe partying.

“Alcohol-related cases such as these create issues for us on all levels, such as arguments, fights and sexual assaults,” Tejada said. “It really is a drain on our resources.”

Robbery-deterrent initiatives, such as directed patrols, which send officers on patrol in high-robbery areas, are impacted because these same officers must respond to alcohol-related incidents at the residence halls.

While alcohol-related issues such as these can be serious, the students who are hospitalized do not represent the majority of students, said [email protected] coordinator Karen Hughes.

“Most students keep it under control,” Hughes said.

[email protected], whose mission is to reduce alcohol-related risks on campus, is promoting a number of initiatives to prevent unsafe partying, Hughes said.

One such initiative is the Pre-Game Huddle, a station that provides a variety of free resources to UC Berkeley students on football gamedays. Another initiative, Happy Neighbors, aims to reduce negative police contact caused by reports of loud partying and drinking by making sure new residents understand the off-campus community expectations.

Contact Matt Trejo at [email protected].