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No rise in fake-ID numbers

BY HAYLEY BRUCE | SEPTEMBER 23, 2010 7:20 AM

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Despite initial speculation that the 21 ordinance could foster use of fake IDs, there's little evidence to prove that's the case.

In fact, University of Iowa police and one local store manager said they've seen a decrease in the use of fake IDs, and police records indicate only slight fluctuations in fake-ID charges, comparing the first several weeks from 2008 to 2010.

One student who helps produce fake driver licenses also said the 21-ordinance hasn't caused a spike in sales.

Since the ordinance took effect, the UI student — who requested anonymity because of legal ramifications — said fewer students are purchasing fake IDs citing an increase in the number of house parties and interest greek life.

The student said he had more business when the bars were 19. Not only are students more likely to be at house parties, he said, but potential customers seem to be more worried about getting in the less busy downtown, he said.

At the start of the school year, several freshmen said they had fake IDs but were waiting to use them. Police agreed, saying they believed many underage students were waiting to see what kind of enforcement they would run into downtown before using fakes.

But as police and downtown establishments continue to crack down on false IDs, students said they're worried about hefty fines.

"It's probably because more people think they're going to get in trouble because the laws are more strict," said UI freshmen Monica Hedeen, who purchased a fake Illiniois ID for $60. She said she hasn't run into trouble with her fake ID.

And at least one store has noticed a decrease in the number of fake IDs.

John's Grocery manager Doug Alberhasky said he sees several reasons for the decline.

"I just don't think a lot of people are trying it," he said.

Alberhasky said John's staff members use the IDs to determine whether people are over 30. If they are younger than 30, employees use a card reader to test for authenticity.

Installation of the card reader has deterred those with fake IDs from trying the store, Alberhasky said.

"If someone presents us with a fake ID, we will pull the ID," Alberhasky said. "The best offense is a good defense."

The UI police has also not noticed an increase in the number of fake IDs this fall.

Charles Green, the assistant vice president for the UI police, said police try to prevent the use of fakes by reminding people they are illegal to use and manufacture.

Still, some students have been willing to risk it. The anonymous student said he usually sells 10 to 40 a month, with the first few weeks of school being the busiest.

DI reporter Alan Touissant contributed to this article.


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