By Gigi Jeddi | The Duquesne Duke
Duquesne police officers are seeing an increase in the number of students who carry fake ID’s and the Department of Public safety is trying to increase enforcement and raise awareness of the consequences of getting caught with phony identification.
Duquesne’s Assistant Chief of Police Michael Sippey said DuPo has encountered 11 students with fake IDs this academic year, which he called a “steady increase” over last year’s numbers.
Sippey said the growth of popular websites that sell fake IDs has made the IDs cheaper, and therefore more popular. Many websites now offer group discounts as well, which leads to students encouraging their friends to purchase the fake cards.
Duquesne police do not actively search for fake IDs, and only discover them when confronting students about other problems, such as stumbling or slurred speech from intoxication, Sippey said.
“We’re not grabbing them and going through their wallets,” Sippey said.
Getting caught with a fake ID can result in a lot more than a slap on the wrist, Sippey cautioned. Being caught with a fake driver’s license can result in a forgery felony charge, with fines ranging from $500 to $25,000.
In a random survey of 108 Duquesne students conducted by The Duke in the library and Union Starbucks, 16 percent of those surveyed reported currently owning a fake ID, while seven percent admitted to previously owning one.
According to Sippey, the public safety department is planning to implement several measures to slow down the use of fake IDs.
Duquesne Police Captain Michael Kopas said that during high risk alcohol abuse periods, police officers will warn students before they head out on the Loop bus about the risks of dangerous drinking and possessing fake IDs.
“This [enforcement] could be applied with saturation patrol that focuses on alcohol awareness, prevention and enforcement,” Kopas said.
Duquesne had 462 liquor law violations in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available. This is down from 654 in 2013. According to Sippey, underage drinking can also increase a student’s risk of injuring themselves or being the victim of a crime.
“We seek voluntary compliance from our students, and we’d like to see them not make unwise decisions that can ruin their future,” said Sippey.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Duquesne police are “considering using additional bag checks on busy weekends” and searching students on the loop bus to discourage the use of fake IDs. It also incorrectly stated that cameras have been installed on the City Steps behind Towers to identify visibly intoxicated individuals walking to and from the South Side. The Duke is sorry for those mistakes, which have since been corrected.