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14 arrested in SNAP patrols near University of Central Florida campus

Random sweeps find underage drinking still a problem

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ORLANDO, Fla. – The Sector 2 Noise and Alcohol Patrols, or SNAP, teaming with University of Central Florida police and Orange County sheriff's deputies, is cracking down on crime on and off campus.

The joint effort led to 14 arrests in 14 days, including underage drinking, drugs, illegal firearms and an outstanding arrest warrant.

Between April 17 through May 30, campus police and county deputies conducted 154 bar checks to check student IDs and flush out underage drinking.

Cpl. Peter Osterrieder, the supervisor for the campus night shift, said there has been a steady boost in crime that seems to mirror the growing campus population.

The nation's second largest university boasts a population estimated to be 60,000, nearly the population of Daytona Beach.

Osterrieder, a 10-year veteran of the UCF campus police force, said the random patrols are making a huge difference, especially in terms of DUI incidents. UCF police are seeing more students walk home from bars rather than drive, according to Osterrieder. But the underage drinking issue is still a part of the UCF landscape, and police blame bar employees "who look the other way."

According to SNAP data during the April to May window, there were 19 arrests or school discipline actions against students drinking under the legal age of 21.

Osterrieder said the biggest challenge is "seeing who belongs and who doesn't, who looks out of place."

The veteran police officer said crimes involving theft, robbery, drugs and underage drinking all play to the immature students who are too trusting and enjoying that freedom from their parents for the first time. Those students are targeted by criminals hoping to take advantage of the young population.

The SNAP sweeps have included DUI stops as well as the surprise bar sweeps.

The agencies said they plan to continue the weekly patrols twice a week in an effort to keep the crime tend in check and, eventually, reverse the trends.