Section: archive

Fake IDs on the rise around campus

By Henri Gendreau

The Office of Campus Safety has reported nine incidents involving the confiscation of false forms of identification. Last year there were four. Incidents include wallets found containing fake IDs, students in possession of fake IDs and minors trying to buy alcohol with false identification.

“I think it’s more prevalent,” Director of Campus Safety Bob Hooper said about the number of fake IDs in circulation. “It isn’t just Kenyon. Most other institutions are seeing a rise in false IDs.”

An analysis of crimes reported by Safety revealed few changes to the number of alcohol-related incidents, like squad runs or open container citations, between 2011 and 2013, except in the area of false IDs.

Two of the four incidents last year involved a found wallet. The other two involved underage students attempting to purchase alcohol with a fake ID.

Between Jan. 13 and Jan. 20, 2013, four separate fake ID incidents were reported, one resulting in a student being taken into custody by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) and the most recent incident, on Feb. 8, of a student being cited by the KCSO when an employee of the Village Market turned in a false ID.

“Our perception is the fake ID problem is extensive,” Tim Newton, manager of the Village Market, said. “We take it very seriously.”

Last month the Market spent approximately $3,000 as part of an overall computer upgrade, including advanced software for detecting false forms of identification.

“Everybody here works very hard to accommodate the community,” Newton said, “and when people try to put things over on us they put the staff jobs in jeopardy, their livelihood, this business.” Newton has also put in place $20 cash incentives for Market employees to catch anyone in the act of using a fake ID.

“We don’t always know when we’re presented with a fake ID or a real ID,” Jerry Kelly, owner and partner of the Village Inn, said in an interview in February about the new policies his restaurant had put in place to discourage underage drinking. Citing his belief that “a lot of underage people” have fake IDs, he said improvements in technology allowed for fake IDs to be “indistinguishable” from real ones.

Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer said he had not had the chance to look at county data to say whether that office had seen an increase in fake ID incidents, but he cited technological improvement as playing a possible role in the increased number reported by Safety.

Hooper said the quality and “ease of getting them off the Internet” make it “just convenient” to get a fake ID. Hooper warned that this convenience creates a big inconvenience for others.

“I think people need to know or understand the implications that they’re putting businesses in,” Hooper said, “because the businesses will get fined as well. And ultimately these businesses could say, ムWe’re just not going to sell to students anymore.'”

Kelly said the Village Inn could face up to $7,500 in fines if even one underage student were caught drinking at the bar. It could also result in a revoked license, which Kelly said would lead to the business’s demise.

“There is an impact financially, legally for these businesses that hopefully the student body will at least respect,” Hooper said.

Newton warned that those attempting to purchase alcohol at the Village Market with a fake ID have been and will be banned.

“Don’t mess with the Market,” he said. “Pretty simple.”

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