Months after Erath County voters elected to allow the sale of beer and wine for off premise consumption, local law enforcement officials are reporting no increase in the number of alcohol-related arrests.
Instead, officials say in the first few months of being “wet,” such arrests are slightly down when compared to previous years.
Beer delivery trucks rolled into the county in late December and now every corner store and grocer is stocked with an array of ales, lagers, pilsners and a variety of wines.
Those against making the county “wet” argued that doing so would increase crime and problems related to alcohol, but law enforcement officials said that’s not been the case.
“When comparing last year to this year’s current reports, we are seeing a slight decrease in alcohol-related violations,” King said. “We have also not experienced an increase in minor in possession and minor in consumption violations.”
Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant also said he has not seen an increase and believes merchants are doing their part to ensure that alcohol is not sold to minors.
According to the county jail’s inmate census reports, dated March 1-26, there has been a decrease of two arrests compared with the same time last year.
During the 26-day period in 2008, law enforcement officials made 51 alcohol related arrests - 16 for driving while intoxicated (DWI), 22 for public intoxication (PI), seven for minor in possession (MIP), five for purchasing or furnishing alcohol to a minor and one for minor in consumption.
Through March 26, 2009, a total of 49 arrests have been made, with MIPs down by three, DWIs down by two and PIs down by one. Minor in consumption arrests are up by three compared to 2008 and furnishing alcohol to minor arrests are up by one.
While it may take longer to get a true snapshot of the effects of going “wet,” according to statistics from the month of March - even during Spring Break, St. Patrick’s celebrations and March Madness watching parties - Erath is on the right track for bringing down alcohol related incidents.