Use of fake IDs an unnecessary risk

Use of fake IDs an unnecessary risk


With last weekend’s arrest of 17 people – including 13 UB students – caught using fake identifications, the university bar scene once again falls into the harsh spotlight of scrutiny.

Such arrests, invariably stir discussion of underage drinking and generate criticism of the frustratingly-high drinking age in this country. American teenagers can drive, join the military and vote all before they’re allowed to drink legally. It’s an illogical law that, unfortunately, doesn’t show any sign of changing any time soon.

So in the meantime – a span of time with no end in sight – UB students should seriously consider the ramifications of using fake IDs.

Underage drinking in local bars is largely recognized as a common practice, an illegal activity typically conducted by students and generally condoned by many bars.

When bars make it easy for students to get away with using false identification – IDs that are clearly forgeries or feature a distinctly different face than the cardholder’s – they send the message to students that their behavior is acceptable, which encourages students to continue using their fake IDs.

It also becomes clear when bars let obviously underage students through their doors, the establishment’s priorities are solely financial. An 18-year-old’s money is going to contribute to the night’s profits as much as a 21-year-old’s money would.

Such disregard for the law is a sign of disrespect from local businesses and the police are right to target bars that flout the rules.

In this case, state police honed in on The U and The Steer, two of the most popular bars among UB students and common destinations for underage students.

The bars, understandably, cooperated with the police and students using fake IDs were arrested before ever making it into the bar.

Hopefully, the sight of students being questioned and arrested by police will serve as an effective warning to students and bars about the risks of using and ignoring fake IDs.

It’s easy to become cavalier while carrying a fake ID, especially once it’s worked a few times – carrying a fake ID in one hand and a drink in the other makes it all too easy to feel invincible.

But in reality, getting caught only has to happen once to mitigate all those past experiences of invulnerability.

Underage drinking and using a fake ID has real consequences, including expensive fines and a marred arrest record – a record that will show up on job applications.

Students should be aware of the ramifications of drinking underage, even if bars make it easy.

Although this operation sent a message to bars and students in the area that the police do take underage drinking seriously, it also served as a reminder of the many popular bars that have fallen victim to the allure of underage customers, like Northside and Mojo’s. Mojo’s closed in 2014 after being caught selling alcohol to minors and Northside closed in 2013.

With so few bars remaining near UB’s campuses, students can only hope that this crackdown prevents further issues with underage drinking. Otherwise, even students of legal drinking age will have nowhere to go, even with a legitimate ID in hand.