I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

What Does a Careful Examination of the Beach Crime Data Analysis Reveal?

The crime that is spiking most significantly since this alcohol-ban has been enacted at Quietwater beach boardwalk is also the most dangerous crime, the one most likely--statistically--to lead to a citizen fatality.......

Looking at the data gleaned from crime reports for a one-year period since the open container ban at Quietwater beach boardwalk was enacted last year does not provide evidence that this ordinance "lowered crime." 

 Disturbingly--when the average number of crimes in each category of infraction from the three years prior to the alcohol ban is averaged, and then compared to one year's data post-alcohol ban--the average crime category increases outpaced the decreases by more than 30% points!

Some categories of crimes are down if a 1-year snapshot is taken--but many are way up. Seeing an additional 66 DUI incidents unfold since the open container ban was enacted is much more alarming to me than seeing "AFFRAY-RIOT" incidents decrease from an average of 3.6 per year down to 1.  That change is insignificant, in my estimation, when compared to the dramatic increases in the DUIs at the beach since we banned open-carry on the boardwalk.

The most dangerous crime, the one that leads to one-third of the nation's traffic deaths yearly (10,000 on average nationwide) ---DUI--- has SPIKED since the enactment of this ordinance:
--up 132% beach-wide post-open container ban! (average 50 incidents per year, 2013-2015, jumped to 116 incidents in 2016 post alcohol ban)
--up  75%  at Quietwater beach alone!

This number alone is very disturbing to me because I have three kids that drive.  They are young. They go to the beach frequently.  I know that God forbid something tragic happens to them (or any young driver in our community)--more than likely it would be a traffic collision, and nationwide a third of these are alcohol related.

The crime that is spiking most significantly since this ban has been enacted is also the most dangerous crime, the one most likely--statistically--to lead to a citizen fatality! 

Why are DUI's spiking?  Why are Batteries up 21%, why are Batteries against LEOs up 34%, why are family disturbances up 81%, why are non-family disturbances up, why are miscellaneous crimes up 180% and DUI's up 132%--all of these beach-wide since our open container ban at Quietwater beach was enacted?  Why?

I know why. 

When we severely curtail a certain activity in one area, it spreads to other areas. When you take the service and monitoring of alcoholic beverage service to the public out of supervised areas where operators have strict rules on service and liability--increases in some bad behaviors will happen!   When you squeeze a balloon full of water on one side, it explodes on the other.

This isn't just an opinion;  I have worked in the food and beverage industry for 25 years, I've bartended for 18 years, worked in nightclubs, and I have owned four sports bars and a restaurant.  I

have seen the ugly side of this industry, and I have seen the responsible side as well. 

DUIs scare me, they scare the hell out of me because they ruin lives and lead to massive tragedies...

I think the DUI spike alone that I see in this data is enough of a sobering wakeup call to compel the board to look at going back to the previous ordinance, simultaneously focusing on enforcement of existing law.  This is my opinion.  And I absolutely detest the notion of punishing responsible adult beverage consumers en masse for the misbehavior of a few hooligans.  Punish those that do wrong, not all of us!

Furthermore, after taking a look at all the data provided by the Sheriff's office regarding beach crime globally since the ban last year--many interesting points can be noted.

At Quietwater beach:  --Crime is up in 8 categories, since the open container ban, an average of 90%
                                    --Crime has decreased in 7 categories by an average of just 60%

At the Beach commercial core area:--Crime is up in 8 categories  by an average of 82.5%
                                                         --Crime has decreased in 11 categories by an average of just 51%

Was last year's alcohol ban on the boardwalk effective--I don't think so based upon what the data shows me.  It appears to me that the unintended consequence of the "well-intentioned" ordinance is that the most violent and dangerous transgressions are increasing beach-wide since we enacted this ban.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a wild, wild idea, but I think perhaps education is one way to go. I also think it would be interesting to know what motivates people to drink and drive. Do they just believe they are not as drunk as they should be? Are they being stubborn and not "listening?" Do they have emotional or mental health issues? Once you figure out the causes, you can create a better prevention strategy that also includes education. I think public service announcements and billboards might be effective.