The Santa Barbara Police Department received $100,000 this month to address alcohol-related crimes involving minors.
According to Sgt. Aaron Baker of the SBPD, the grant — from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control Board — will be used to educate the public about underage drinking and to fund programs that focus on enforcement.
Concerning education, the SBPD will use a portion of the grant to fund the Youth Offender Program. In the program, officers present the dangers of drugs and alcohol to minors.
In regard to enforcement, the SBPD will use the grant to fund plans such as the Minor Decoy Program. In this program, a person under 21 acts as a decoy and asks unsuspecting passersby to purchase them alcohol — or will attempt to do so themselves — from one of 530 of the ABC-licensed premises in Santa Barbara. After the purchase, police will be waiting for the perpetrator once they return with the alcohol to give to the decoy.
According to a press release issued by the SBPD, the department made 5,278 arrests for alcohol related crimes in 2007. Of these, 438 specifically involved minors. In total, 2,950 arrests — which may or may not have involved a minor — were for having an open container in a prohibited area, such as inside a personal motor vehicle.
Sgt. Baker said he estimates over 20 other law enforcement agencies received a similar grant from the ABC this year, including the Isla Vista Foot Patrol, which received a grant for the same amount this summer.