How to throw a safe party

Dalton Bergan

Students host and attend parties every weekend, but there are a few things to keep in mind when hosting a party, police say.

In 2011, the Ames Police Department formed the Safe Neighborhoods Team in order to handle any problems that arise at the neighborhood level. One goal of the team was to educate students, businesses and Ames residents about the proper way to go about throwing a party.

“We’re problem-oriented, so if there’s a problem in a neighborhood, we’re the ones that go deal with it,” said Mike Arkovich, Safe Neighborhoods Team sergeant. “We also do a lot of alcohol enforcement in the bars and in Campustown.”

Ames Police spends a lot of time in the fall and spring hosting events to educate the general public about what can and can’t be done when hosting a party with alcohol involved. Members of the police department also talk with bar owners and staff to teach them the proper way to check IDs and spot fakes.

The main purpose of events like these is not to scare people away from hosting a party but more to make sure they’re doing it without upsetting the people around them. The Safe Neighborhoods Team often gets involved with the party scene when noise complaints or anonymous phone calls are received from disgruntled neighbors.

“It’s okay to have a good time, just don’t piss off your neighbors,” Arkovich said. “A lot of times, [the neighbors] don’t want to deal with confrontation, so they’ll turn in a party through an anonymous phone call.”

Arkovich says that hosting a party can be harmless if done right, but things can easily get out of hand. Officers frequently patrol busy areas on weekends but won’t intervene unless a party appears to be out of hand.

“If there are a lot of people spilling out into the sidewalk, if the music is over the sound ordinance or if there’s a lot of litter on the ground, that kind of stuff will make us go and talk to whoever lives there,” Arkovich said. “If you’re hosting, you’re responsible for the people you have over and for controlling those people.”

If you are hosting a party, keep in mind that your guests are your responsibility and anything they do can be partially blamed on you, Arkovich said. It’s easier to control your guests if you control how many people you let in.

“Don’t have an open party,” said Anthony Greiter, officer in the ISU Police Department. “Allow entrance by invite only so the party size remains reasonable and manageable.”

Greiter said that if your party gets out of hand, you can always call the police to break up the party and get guests out of your house.

It’s also a good idea to stay sober if you’re hosting so that you’re aware of what’s going on and can cooperate with police if need be.

“If you take the initiative to call the police and say your party got out of hand, we’re happy to go and break up those parties,” Arkovich said. “Sometimes we won’t write a citation; sometimes we will. If we find major violations and a lot of them, even if they call their own party in, we may write them a ticket.”

Both Greiter and Arkovich said that if the police have to break up a party, the main thing they’re looking for is cooperation from the host. Taking responsibility for guests and maintaining as much control as possible will make things go a lot more smoothly for everyone.

When it comes to hosting a party, just use common sense. Keep the guests under control and make sure to handle any problems in the best way possible. Be smart and understand that what happens at your party is your responsibility, they said.