ABC Steps Up Enforcement in Charlottesville - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

ABC Steps Up Enforcement in Charlottesville

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As part of a continued effort to fight the underage drinking problem at the University of Virginia, Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control law enforcement is putting more boots on the ground in Charlottesville.

You might not see it, but you can expect a larger ABC agent presence on the UVA corner. 

"I don't look at it as increased enforcement, I look at it as just routine enforcement," said Stephen Jones, assistant special agent in charge of the ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement.  

Jones says the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is stepping up enforcement.

"It's not just Charlottesville, it's all college towns. We always concentrate most of our resources in those areas because that's where the problems are," said Jones.

In Charlottesville, that means more agents patrolling the corner and the downtown mall.

ABC recently hired one new full-time agent, and often brings in others from around the region to keep a close eye on alcohol-serving businesses.

"We kind of look at it as a partnership, but ultimately it's their responsibility. And if they fail to live up to their responsibility then we'll have to take the appropriate action," said Jones.   

Those actions range from fines to license revocation. But before it gets to that point, ABC says it tries to educate businesses on the do's and don'ts. Four different training sessions are happening this month.  

UVA is also working to educate local businesses - as well as students - on the increased enforcement.

"We really do work with ABC to make sure that people are aware that, 'hey, there is this increased enforcement'," said Susan Bruce, director of UVA's Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.

The Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention is working in tandem with ABC to ensure students know the law, and know how they can stay safe.

"We have a real health focus and educational focus," said Bruce. "Because it's not just about catching people, it's about deterrence and follow the law."

UVA did meet with ABC less than a month ago to discuss their increased enforcement efforts around the university. ABC law enforcement says this push wasn't spurred on by anything specifically, and is also happening in other areas across the state.

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