With the arrival of the holiday season, the Dublin Division of Police wants to ensure the safety of all of our residents. As you engage in holiday festivities, remember that the city has a "social host" law governing the hosting of guests who possess or drink alcoholic beverages.

With the arrival of the holiday season, the Dublin Division of Police wants to ensure the safety of all of our residents. As you engage in holiday festivities, remember that the city has a "social host" law governing the hosting of guests who possess or drink alcoholic beverages.

Under Dublin's law, police may charge and the city may prosecute people who "negligently" allow the possession or consumption of alcohol by underage people on their premises. In this law, "negligence" is defined as follows: "A person acts negligently when, because of a substantial lapse from due care, he (or she) fails to perceive or avoid a risk that his (or her) conduct may cause a certain resultÉ."

Dublin's social host law applies to parents, guardians, siblings, children or any other person in charge of premises. What does this law mean? Here are a couple of practical examples:

A high school senior is hosting a party at his or her home. The parents are home, but the party is held in a downstairs rec room. During the course of the party some of the guests (under 21 years of age) bring beer, but the parents don't go downstairs to check what's going on.

A college student hosts a party with alcoholic beverages at home while his or her parents are out of town. Underage drinking occurs at the party. During the party a neighbor contacts the parents to tell them what's going on. The parents choose not to follow up on the allegations and the party continues without interference.

In these examples, even though the parents did not furnish the alcohol or serve anyone, they could be in violation of Dublin's social host law. The students hosting the parties could also be charged under the same law.

There are a number of reasonable measures that parents, guardians, and other property owners can take to prevent underage drinking in their homes. The Dublin police recommend taking proactive steps to secure alcoholic beverages on the premises or take other means to restrict access by underage people to alcohol. Such steps include:

• locking alcoholic beverages away so underage persons cannot gain access to them;

• asking a friend or neighbor to check on the residence when parents are away;

• requesting extra police patrols for the residence while parents are gone;

• removing alcoholic beverages from the home when parents are away.

We hope everyone in our community enjoys a safe and happy holiday. We ask that parents with children under 21 years of age help us keep the season safe by taking particular care to ensure that no one under 21 possesses or is served alcoholic beverages in your homes.

Remember: You can contact the Dublin Division of Police anonymously by calling "24 Hour Anonymous Tip Line" at: 614-889-2618 or by using the anonymous online tip line at: http://dublin.oh.us/police/crime/tipline.php Have a safe and happy holiday season.

Heinz von Eckartsberg is the interim chief of police.

Heinz von

Eckartsberg