Officials at the University of Iowa are calling a campaign this year to curb excessive drinking during home football games a success. The effort involved increased police patrols in campus parking lots before and after games, limited post-game tailgating hours and boosted enforcement of drunk driving and open container laws.
UI Associate Director of Public Safety David Visin kept track of the arrests and citations handed out during Iowa’s seven home football games. “We saw a 50 percent drop in the number of public intoxication arrests and we saw a great drop in the number people we transport to jail from the stadium,” Visin told Radio Iowa. “All of our other statistics are down, except for drunk driving arrests, public urination tickets and obviously open containers.”
Police paid special attention to enforcing laws against alcoholic beverages carried on streets and sidewalks. Officers cited 418 people for violating open container laws. That’s up from 95 citations in 2009. Police made 90 arrests for public intoxication on game days this year. That’s down from 141 last year. Also this year, eight motorists were arrested for OWI and 56 people were charged with public urination.
Visin admits some fans may’ve felt harassed, but others appreciated the change in atmosphere. “We think there’s a silent majority out there that understand the problems and maybe, they themselves, have been affected excessive alcohol consumption in the stadium,” Visin said. Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta unveiled the “Think Before You Drink” campaign in August and said the effort would “focus on the knuckleheads.”