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The KEYS Program is an additional prevention tool that parents can implement immediately to effectively impact this problem.

In 2006 the Dover Police Department, in partnership with the Dover Coalition for Youth, introduced the KEYS Program, a voluntary program that Dover parents can enroll in to prevent unwanted underage drinking and drug parties from occurring in their homes when they are not present.

If a parent is going to be out of town, on vacation or working a late shift, they can register their home in advance with the Dover Police Department. The parent leaves a key with a trusted neighbor or family member, and the Police Department checks the home while the parents are away.

If there are clear indicators that an underage drinking or drug party is going on, a police officer can retrieve the key from the parents’ designated key holder. The parent is then notified of any action taken.

Today’s underage drinking parties occur less frequently in the woods or in a car. 95% of the time, kids choose to party in homes – often in the homes of their parents or their friends’ parents – when adults are not home.

Home parties tend to be hosted by young people, not adults. Of the 17 individuals charged with a Party Host Law violation in Dover since it’s inception in 2004 through the end of 2005, thirteen of those charged were 19 or 20, and were not even old enough to drink. One 19 year old host was so drunk that they were transported to Wentworth Douglass Hospital and couldn’t be served with a court summons until the next morning.

All Dover parents and concerned citizens are reminded that they can place an anonymous call to the Dover Crimeline at 742-6000, or e-mail if they suspect there is an underage drinking party going on in any apartment or residence. Click here for more information on Dover Crime Line.

KEYS Brochure and Registration Form

To register or to obtain more information about the KEYS program, simply call the Dover Police Department’s Community Outreach Bureau at 516-3275.

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