The Daily Gamecock

Guest Column: Drinking age not of concern for Five Points

Cops should spend more time on serious crime

Law enforcement may argue that alcohol is the root of all crime in Five Points, but the best way to lower the crime rate in Columbia to lower the drinking age.

In an article published earlier this year in The State, crime statistics for the hospitality district included two sexual assaults, nine robberies, 15 aggravated assaults, 10 auto thefts, nine burglaries, 49 auto break-ins, and 38 other larcenies. Among all these crimes, how many of these do you think involved alcohol or someone drinking underage? Probably slim to none.

Yet police flood Five Points, searching for fake IDs and underage college students. USC students are getting arrested left and right, while simultaneously serious crimes are happening in Five Points and on campus. If the drinking age were lowered, law enforcement could spend less time writing underage drinking tickets and more time focusing on crimes that pose a threat to the community and university.
Not only could a lower drinking age reduce the crime rate in Columbia, it could also promote safer drinking habits among students at the USC. If students were allowed to drink at 18 years old, they could learn how to indulge in a safe and legal manner that is supervised and in public.

When considering lowering the drinking age, we must ask ourselves if our current law is effective and whether it actually prevents crime. Decreasing the drinking age could give a group of young people who are old enough to vote and serve in the military under current laws the choice to drink responsibly and legally.