SAN DIEGO–San Diego police conducted a “Shoulder Tap” Operation which targets adults who purchase alcohol for people less than 21 years of age.
Under the program a minor, under the direct supervision of a peace officer, will stand outside a liquor or convenience store and ask patrons to buy them alcohol. The minor indicates in some way he or she is underage and cannot purchase the alcohol.
If the adult agrees and purchases alcohol for the minor, officers arrest and cite them for furnishing alcohol to the minor. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1000 fine and 24 hours of community service.
The program is intended to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors. Statistics show they generally have a higher rate of drunken driving crashes than adults. Studies also show the combination of alcohol and youth tends to increase criminal conduct. According to the American Medical Association, underage drinking can increase chances of risky sexual behavior and teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, compromise health, and result in unintentional injury and death.
The operation was conducted throughout the San Diego area. The team visited five locations and solicited twenty-six adults. No arrests were made. Prior operations and arrests in this area and the proactive work of store managers and owners to keep juveniles from loitering near their businesses have contributed to the successful prevention of alcohol sales to minors.
This project is part of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s Minor Decoy and Shoulder Tap Grant Project, funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.