During September, D.C. Metropolitan police stepped up efforts against underage drinking in Georgetown, resulting in 53 arrests in a two-week period. The police targeted local bars, restaurants and liquor stores, as well as Georgetown house parties. One weekend, over half of those arrested were Georgetown students. The arrests took place over the weekends of September 18 and September 25. Lt. Patrick Burke of the 2nd District Police characterized the sweep as part of “a massive underage anti-drinking campaign.” During the sweep, Georgetown University students, local bartenders and merchants were arrested and jailed and may face fines of up to $1500, Burke said. Lieutenant Joseph Trippi, who is in charge of vice in the 2nd District, said, “We are hitting everything from ABC establishments [bars] to underage drinkers themselves.” Trippi added that “the 2nd District has always taken underage drinking seriously” and that “the vice unit has always made a few arrests a month.” The police are releasing many of the details now in order to “get out the message that we are cracking down and taking underage drinking seriously,” he said. The majority of the arrests were minors, in this context defined by law as people under 21, charged with underage drinking. During the weekend of Sept. 18 and 19, twelve of the 23 people arrested were Georgetown students. The police also arrested four people during the sweep for selling alcohol to minors. During the next weekend, the police arrested 30 people. Twenty-two were charged with possession of alcohol by a minor, sixteen of them students at local universities. Four were charged with selling alcohol to underage individuals and two were charged with providing alcohol to underage individuals. Six were charged with misrepresentation of age in order to get alcohol, or using false identification. Three were also charged with possession of open containers of alcohol, Trippi said. Arrests were also made during the two weekends in September at The Cellar, Dixie Liqours, Graffiti of Georgetown, Lulu’s Club, Pearson’ Liquor and Wine Annex, Sports Fans and The Third Edition. During the weekend of Sept. 25, the police also investigated seven deli-stores, three liquor stores, nineteen ABC establishments and one house party. Trippi said the majority of these establishments were found to be in compliance with regulations. During the sting operation, the police used three underage informants at deli-stores and liquor stores, Trippi said. At Fresh Fields Whole Foods grocery store on Wisconsin Avenue, a cashier was arrested for selling beer to two nineteen year-old “underage confidential sources.” The recently hired cashier was subsequently fired, according to Trippi. In the most recent sting operation Oct. 9, the Crazy Crab restaurant on Connecticut Ave. was raided, and six people, including the owner of the restaurant, were arrested, Lt. Trippi said. Two twenty-year-olds were arrested and charged with possession of alcohol by a minor and one was also charged with misrepresentation of age. As a result of the raid, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board suspended the restaurant’s license. The Board claimed that the Crazy Crab “poses imminent danger to the community.” Some people, including Patrick Allen, six-year chair of the Citizens Association of Georgetown committee on Alcoholic Beverage Control, are enthusiastic about the police enforcement. He said that “the residents and the community support the police” and that there have been “increased responses to citizen complaints about these problems.” He said that “the problem has decreased and the situation has improved.” However, others view the arrests negatively, such as Paul Cohn, a local restaurateur and president of the Georgetown Business and Professional Association. In a Georgetown Current article last week, Cohn said he saw the arrests as a “misguided, misinformed and mismanaged sting operation that does just as much to undermine economic growth in the city than the image of high crime.

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