Underage alcohol arrests in Kent over the past two year


Map of all underage drinking arrests from 2015-2017.

Natalie Eusebio

Click here to view an Interactive map of underage alcohol arrests in Kent.

In Kent, most underage alcohol arrests happen on city streets during the weekend.

The majority of the prohibition arrests from the past two years happened after 11 p.m., According to Kent Police records obtained by the Kent Stater.

As the records show, the most popular streets for arrests are Main and University.

“We aren’t hiding in bushes trying to catch people. People walk down the street carrying open containers,” said Kent City Police Lt. Michael Lewis.

Lewis also said a good portion of these arrests happen on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The arrests are filed as a “prohibition” arrest, meaning the individual was either under the influence of alcohol or in possession of alcohol out in a public place.

The records showed 594 prohibition arrests between 2015 and 2017.

“If it is a large scale drinking-event, like Fake Patty’s or Halloween, then we are out patrolling the streets and interacting with people earlier in the day,” said Tricia Knoles, the community resource officer for Kent State University Police Department (KSUPD).

Knoles said students arrested off campus still face consequences on campus.

Lewis said a majority of the prohibition arrests made off-campus are students that are visibly intoxicated while walking down the street.

“They are walking downtown, or walking back to campus from a house party. Typically they are intoxicated so they walk into the street, urinate, or pass out on front campus,” Knoles said.

“We usually have at least one person a week transported off-campus for alcohol poisoning,” Knoles said.

Knoles said the city will cite the individual, and the student will then be referred to the Office of Student Conduct by the police.

Knoles said that Kent City Police and campus police have a joint-jurisdiction agreement that covers Lincoln Avenue, University Drive, Main Street and Sherman Street.

“We both have ability to arrest and patrol traffic in those areas. Primarily if there is an issue in that area then Kent city police would handle it and file the report,” said Knoles.

As far as on-campus arrests go, Lewis said they are usually minor offenses and handled with a summons instead of an arrest.

If a student is arrested off campus, and it is their first offense, Lewis said that they will be referred to a diversion program.

Victoria Guinsler is a senior paralegal studies major at Kent State. Guinsler lives on Sherman Street.

“There isn’t a whole lot that happens on our street, but people use our street to cut through to go to parties,” Guinsler said.

Guinsler said no intoxicated person has ever blatantly disrupted her evening while she was home.

Guinsler also said people walk through their yard to get to parties.

“People walk through our yard and will walk past my window during the middle of the night. We can hear the music and stuff from other parties too,” Lewis said.

Guinsler said on holidays, like Fake Patty’s Day, the festivities start much earlier.

“This year I was woken up at 6 a.m. by some obnoxious song playing at a house nearby,” Guinsler said.

Lewis said they aren’t hiding in bushes to catch people. 

“On days like St. Patrick’s day when they are walking down the street in broad daylight carrying alcohol under 21. We aren’t hiding in bushes trying to catch people. People walk down the street carrying open containers,” said Lewis.

Lewis said it is a common misconception that police try to target students.

From experience, Lewis and the other police officers know that certain streets tend to have more parties.

“Sometimes we get a call to a specific house, when you are talking about East Main or University Drive, you’re probably going to have three or four parties or more right in a row,” said Lewis.

Multiple fraternity houses are located on Main Street and University Drive.

Lewis said once officers are out walking the street, they usually find people in possession or under the influence.

When it comes to apartment complexes, Lewis said they have had less problems and received less calls since apartments have started employing private security.

Lewis said security guards can handle the problems happening before police get there.

“Sometimes security will call us in if they aren’t getting any corporation from the party guests,” Lewis said. “That really isn’t smart of the people at the party not to work with security.” 

Knoles said the KSUPD is only called out to situations at apartments if there is a particularly out of control party.

“They will call us if they need a few extra hands,” she said.

Lewis said that they do not often see repeat offenders.

“Hopefully it is an eye-opening experience for them,” he said.

Natalie Eusebio is the commuter and apartments reporter. Contact her at [email protected]