A New Hampshire law makes it a misdemeanor for minors, parents, or any owner or occupant of any address to host parties where alcohol and other drugs are consumed by minors, the Portsmouth Herald reported May 26.
“It’s not necessarily just in a home,” said Sgt. Mike Schwartz, who is in charge of the Juvenile Division of the Portsmouth Police Department. “It could be an apartment or even a hotel room.”
Schwartz said the law took effect just in time for prom and graduation season, when many underage-drinking parties take place.
As a means of enforcing the law, the Portsmouth Police Department has launched an initiative called “Booze Bounty,” in which local food deliverers and hotel clerks will receive a monetary reward if they report suspicious activity that they may see when they deliver food or give hotel keys to partygoers.
“The message being sent to parents is that it’s not safe for them to host a party,” said Jackie Valley, of the Community Diversion Program in Greenland. “This doesn’t change the fact that youths using alcohol is still illegal.”
Area businesses are receptive to the police initiative — as long as they can remain anonymous when reporting a tip. “My employees have enough contact with these customers to know what’s going on,” said the manager of a Portsmouth delivery restaurant, who asked that neither he nor his business be identified. “I don’t want my drivers to feel like they’re junior police officers, but I’m willing to help.”