Alcohol warning signs running in short supply
As of Thursday night, five of the eight signs recently erected by the Brunswick Police Department have been stolen, according to an Orient count. The signs came as a response to the increased number of noise complaints from the local community this year.
The signs are intended to serve as an official warning to students that "public consumption of alcoholic beverages is a class E crime." If students are caught with alcohol within 200 feet of the signs they can be arrested and fined or jailed.
Lieutenant Marc Hanagan of the Brunswick Police said, "Four signs have been stolen. One was immediately stolen, but that one was replaced." Hanagan said signs will continue to be replaced for the time being.
Though signs being stolen may not have been entirely unexpected, the Brunswick Police "hoped there would be voluntary compliance." Hanagan said, "If signs keep being stolen and we continue to receive complaints from the community [regarding noise], we will probably step up enforcement in those areas."
Assistant Director of Security Mike Brown said, "Naturally I am disappointed, since the signs represented an alternative to the types of enforcement typically used when complaints arise. These signs were intended to serve as 'fair notice' in an effort to prevent violations, rather than the cumbersome approach of identifying, warning, and summonsing those found in violation."
Many students have not found the signs to be effective. Tom Elson '06 said, "I'm not surprised that they were stolen because most people didn't think they were worthwhile. Most students don't even know what a class E crime is." Sophia Lenz '04 agreed, "I don't think their absence or presence significantly influences students' decisions to be quiet. At times it may provoke them to be even louder."
Ironically, the signs that sought to prevent disruptive behavior instigated criminal activity. "Individuals who tampered with the signs ran the risk of being charged with anything from vandalism to criminal mischief, and even at this point could be charged with possession of stolen property," said Brown.
"Even if a student merely receives a stolen sign, and say, puts it up in their dorm room, it's still a crime of receiving stolen property," said Hanagan. "When you're drinking it may seem funny to steal a sign, but you're not thinking ahead. If you're charged criminally, it will come back to get you when applying for jobs or getting security clearance."