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Lillian Steenblik Hwang – Blog & Journalism Portfolio

Data Analysis – Fall Semester Alcohol Enforcement Trends at BU

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I recently wrote a 1000 word piece on binge drinking in college for one of my classes –  inspired by coverage of the Alcohol Enforcement Patrols published by BU Today.

Long story short, these patrols are part of a greater push by Boston University to curb harmful drinking in students (this data is also going to be used to help the Learning Collaborative on High Risk Drinking)

While doing research I found this really neat graph from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Their data shows that drinking spikes in college students during holidays, measured by drinks per week.

Most of this drinking occurs off campus.

I was curious to see if the Alcohol Enforcement Patrol data followed similar trends.

Unfortunately, data is only available up to the 10th weekend of this academic year. In addition – the data published is not how many drinks students had, but instead how many students got into trouble each weekend.

Assuming enforcement was consistent, this still doesn’t show how much drinking was going on or by who – just who got caught.

data compiled from BU Alcohol Enforcement Patrols - published in BU Today

The most obvious similarity here is the spike at week 3, and what looks like an upward trend at week 10 (towards a spike at week 11).

data compiled from BU Alcohol Enforcement Patrols - published in BU Today

It’s still hard to see what all the graphs look like in comparison. Especially since the first graph is so small, and low quality.

Here’s a scaled comparison:

Comparing these graphs next to each other – it seems that hospital transports and number of alcohol related violations follow the drinks per week chart fairly well.

data compiled from BU Alcohol Enforcement Patrols - published in BU Today

data compiled from BU Alcohol Enforcement Patrols - published in BU Today

Finally – combined data from for the most major data points…

If the patterns of students getting into trouble for alcohol related incidents, and the number of drinks per week in across the academic year are correlated at BU – the police could expect to see a really large spike in activity coming up at the end of this semester and again when students return for the beginning of Spring.

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