Go out with your friends.

Stay with your friends.

Watch out for each other.

And drink responsibly.

Local law enforcement officials say those are some of the best steps students can take to stay safe while having fun in and around Boulder.

"There's safety in numbers," said University of Colorado police Sgt. Michael Lowry. "When people go out, hopefully someone is designated not just as the designated driver, but as someone who can be the caretaker. Just because you're not driving doesn't mean everyone should drink as much as they want. Someone needs to be that sober voice of reason."

Lowry said it's not unusual for officers on patrol to find students too inebriated to care for themselves. Those students are taken to the Addiction Recovery Center to make sure they stay safe and warm while they sober up.

Lowry said the weather presents an additional hazard to students who are out drinking. He recalled a person several years ago who ended up passed out partially in a creek on a brutally cold night.

"Especially now with winter, there have been cases where people have gotten separated, gotten lost while intoxicated, and ended up in dangerous situations," Lowry said. "Thank goodness that person was found before any permanent damage was done, but there have been cases in the mountains where people tried to get home intoxicated and were not found until spring. It's extremely scary."

Lowry urged students to take advantage of resources like the Buff Bus and NightRide, which can be reached at 303-492-SAFE (7233), instead of walking alone on cold winter nights.


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Lowry said students headed to the mountains should remember that there can be significant weather differences between Boulder and the high country, so be sure to dress in layers and stock cars with jumper cables, snow shovels and ice scrapers.

Boulder police Sgt. Robyn VanDerLeest, who works with the neighborhood-impact team that patrols University Hill and the downtown area, echoed the advice about going out with friends and moderating drinking.

VanDerLeest said students should leave parties in groups and walk along lighted streets, like Broadway, when they go between the Hill and downtown.

Excessive drinking can land students in trouble with the law, as well as put them at risk for accidents and crime.

"When the students come back, we see an increase in calls about noise and parties," she said. "As a result of kids getting together and drinking, we see an increase in assaults and fights at the end of the night."

Students can register parties at Off-Campus Housing in room 313 of the University Memorial Center and get a warning of the first noise complaint, giving students a chance to turn down the party before a ticket is issued.

"Party registration is a great opportunity to take responsibility for their parties," VanDerLeest said. "They pledge to only serve alcohol to 21 and over, and they get a head's up."

Erica Meltzer: twitter.com/meltzere