Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Summary of Responses

The table below summarizes the responses to rave party problems, the mechanism by which they are intended to work, the conditions under which they ought to work best, and some factors you should consider before implementing a particular response. It is critical that you tailor responses to local circumstances, and that you can justify each response based on reliable analysis. In most cases, an effective strategy will involve implementing several different responses. Law enforcement responses alone are seldom effective in reducing or solving the problems.

Specific Responses To Address Rave Party Problems
# Response How It Works Works Best If... Considerations
1 Regulating rave venues to ensure basic health and safety measures are in place Controls environmental factors to reduce ravers' risk of medical emergencies …laws require adherence to health and safety regulations, or rave promoters and/or property owners agree voluntarily to abide by regulations; unlicensed raves are prohibited; and police work cooperatively with promoters and/or owners to ensure adherence to regulations Costs to promoters and/or owners; may require new legislation
2 Encouraging and supporting property owners in exercising control over raves Reduces the likelihood that raves will be poorly managed …owners are either unaware of the risks associated with raves or unsure how to exercise control over them, and police have good working relationships with owners Some owners may resent perceived police interference with their opportunities to profit from leasing property to rave operators
3 Prohibiting juveniles and adults from being admitted to the same raves Reduces the likelihood that juveniles will be exposed to rave- related drugs and alcohol …there are adequate opportunities for juveniles to listen and dance to rave music in venues where drugs and alcohol are less available May cause some financial hardship to rave promoters; may require new legislation
4 Applying nuisance abatement laws to rave venues Compels rave operators and property owners to adhere to health and safety regulations …operators and owners are otherwise unwilling to adhere to regulations and/or cooperate with police Investigative and legal costs associated with developing a nuisance abatement case; may worsen relationships between police and operators and owners
5 Prosecuting rave operators and/or property owners criminally for drug-related offenses Deters operators and/or owners from conspiring in or knowingly permitting drug- related offenses …laws in the jurisdiction allow for such prosecutions, and there is solid evidence to support a prosecution Unproven method because it has rarely been applied; substantial investigative and legal costs associated with developing a criminal case
6 Educating ravers about the risks of drug use and overexertion Reduces the likelihood that ravers will suffer serious harm from rave-related activities …information is accurate, specific, credible, and nonjudgmentally conveyed; and messages are tailored to specific rave groups May be public or police opposition on the grounds that illegal activity appears to be tolerated; education campaigns pitched to the general public rather than targeted to higher risk audiences may inadvertently promote drug experimentation
Responses With Limited Effectiveness
# Response How It Works Works Best If... Considerations
7 Banning all raves     Unintended consequence will likely be that rave parties move to unlicensed, unregulated and clandestine locations
8 Providing anonymous drug- testing services to ravers Reduces the likelihood that ravers will ingest harmful chemicals …a drug testing organization serves the jurisdiction, drug testing methods are accurate and reliable, and police endorse anonymous drug testing May be public or police opposition on the grounds that illegal activity appears to be condoned; field testing methods may not be sophisticated enough to detect some dangerous chemicals
9 Deploying off- duty police officers at raves Intended to discourage drug use and dealing at raves   Most ravers who use drugs take them before arriving at raves, so detection and deterrence are minimized; some rave operators and/or property owners may believe police are assuming primary responsibility for ravers' health and safety
10 Having uniformed police officers conduct random patrols at raves Intended to discourage drug use and dealing at raves   Most ravers who use drugs take them before arriving at raves, so detection and deterrence are minimized; rave operators and ravers may perceive it as harassment, undermining harm reduction strategies
11 Conducting roadblocks and vehicle searches before and after raves Intended to deter illegal drug use   Unintended consequence may be that drug users take greater quantities of drugs to avoid detection