Around 90% of teen parties go off the rails because BYO alcohol isn’t controlled as it’s brought onsite. The host/parent who manages this common problem is almost there.
Yet the remaining 10% of teen events fail because of a different problem: gatecrashers.
I’ve worked hundreds of teen parties. I’ve had gatecrashers threaten to cut my throat.
Here’s my gatecrasher spotter’s guide – collated from years of (very nasty) experiences.
Common gatecrasher characteristics
- Wears a cap (usually backwards).
- Carries a backpack (with clinking booze).
- Smells of alcohol.
- Is often smug.
- May carry an item that can be used as a weapon (e.g. empty bottle, garden tool).
Common streetwise (smart-arse) remarks
- ‘We have a Facebook invite.’
- ‘We aren’t coming into [INSERT HOST NAME]’s party.’
- ‘We’re just waiting out the front for [INSERT NAME].’
- ‘It’s a free country; we can stay here.’
- ‘You aren’t the police.’
- ‘We’ll have our own party.’
- ‘We have more people coming to our party.’
While determining gatecrasher issues is extremely difficult, you can assess your risk.
For instance, your chance of gatecrashers increases dramatically if:
- Your venue is close to shops or a railway station.
- Other parties in the area have had gatecrashers.
- Your guests live locally.
Phone a million friends
Mobile phones are the real killer. Most guests carry one – with SMS or social media access to their mates.
The best counter is automatic mandatory cloaking of all bags (including clutches) on entry.
You can also spread the word that anyone caught inviting people via mobile will be asked to leave.
Yet this doesn’t stop guests carrying phones in their pockets.
If a guest is standing near a fence, continually on the phone, you can be sure they:
- Have told others about your party.
- Are waiting to help them breach a weak point in your perimeter.
Parents hosting teen parties have a duty of care to provide a safe environment for guests.
Incompetent amateurs and overconfident adults CAN NOT stop a party from rapidly getting out of hand due to gatecrashers.
On the other hand, experienced, professional crowd controllers:
- Check guests via a written list.
- Monitor entry and do property walk-throughs.
- Patrol surrounding streets.
This is really important. I can’t stress it enough.
If you spot kids hanging round and can’t get them to move them on, call the Police immediately. A few kids can increase fivefold in just 20 minutes.
And if you think gatecrashers are just children out for a bit of fun, think again: today’s parties can be fatal.
Gatecrashers know what they want, and are well-versed in getting it.
They’ll run rings round you.
Parties go out of control because parents don’t take charge and plan.
If parents can’t be bothered, it falls to councils.
Why? Because of the destruction these events are wreaking on our communities.
There are no excuses.
And the answer is right here.
Gatecrashers are certainly a vile breed.
But cop this: it’s not an offence for them to enter your property!
While I can tell you how to spot and stop them, I can’t explain why our laws protect them.
That’s up to our leaders.
Which means it’s up to you.
Naomi Oakley, Founder, Safe Partying Australia.