Safe Party Initiative and Partners

The Safe Party Initiative aims to reduce problems related to college student drinking at parties in the Davis community. It focuses on creating safer party environments by building a closer sense of community between students and neighbors, promoting safety at parties and increasing enforcement of alcohol-related laws and policies. This initiative is a collaborative effort between the City of Davis and the University of California, Davis.

The comprehensive initiative arose from an initial five-year, $6.9 million study of alcohol-related problems at 14 California universities, funded by the National Institute for Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA). UC Davis was one of seven intervention campuses asked by the Prevention Research Center to develop a coordinated campus community strategy for reducing high-risk drinking and the problems it creates. The research project seeks to reduce violence, property damage, injury and car crashes that result from high-risk drinking and out-of-control parties.

The American Journal of Preventative Medicine article Alcohol Risk Management in College Settings: The Safer California Universities Randomized Trial summarizes the efficacy of this approach in significantly reducing intoxication at off-campus parties and bars/restaurants.

Intervention Components

Social Responsibility Practices

Safe Party Campaign: Launching a Safe Party website, updating students of state and local policies and laws, distributing emergency and transportation phone numbers, and using media strategies and informational materials. These materials inform:

  • checklist arrow Party Hosts: Outlining best practices for safe and successful parties
  • checklist arrow Party Guests: Providing strategies to reduce high-risk drinking

Neighborhood Community-building Practices

Neighborhood-Community Programs: Creating and expanding neighborhood networks to improve communications and relations among student and non-student neighbors, setting a community expectation of responsible partying.

Davis Neighbors’ Night Out: This fall event is a block party, located in individual neighborhoods, to encourage Davis residents to meet each other with the goal of increasing communication and neighborliness. Any student or community member can host a party.

Law Enforcement Practices

Fall Party Patrols: Joint and individual patrols by City of Davis and UC Davis police officers to assure neighborhood and traffic safety through enforcement of DUI, minor in possession and other alcohol use laws and ordinances. The police are available to intervene with intoxicated party guests before public behaviors escalate to violence or vandalism.

DUI Compliance Checkpoints: Public, police-monitored patrols are used to identify intoxicated drivers, enforce DUI laws and prevent injuries from alcohol-related crashes.

Minor Decoy Programs: Police-monitored, underage decoys test the compliance policies of retail alcohol businesses to prevent underage or "shoulder-tap" sales.

Implementation Principles

  • Each intervention strategy involves dissemination activities, media strategies and a broad-based engagement by students, community members, campus representatives and city officials.
  • Public relations and media communications intended to reframe the problem from a police or campus disciplinary responsibility to a community health and safety responsibility.
  • This project benefits directly from participation in a federal evaluation process with on-going feedback of data into the intervention process as well as a summary analysis of the change resulting from the interventions.