DUI incidents down by more than half

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 7, 2014

Prior to Picayune voting on whether to become a resort area there were a number of people warning voters of the negative effects such a designation could bring about.

Now, three years after the fact, statistics from the Picayune Police Department show the number of DUI arrests has fallen.

Any decrease in the number of drunk drivers is good news, but this decrease is by more than half. Such a drop contradicts what the opposition predicted would occur.

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Additionally the number of open beer arrests dropped. While not by half, it was significant.

While it took years for the numbers to drop, it shows that local availability of alcohol can have a positive affect and not just in economic development.

It should be noted however that the numbers of other alcohol related arrests stayed the same, such as possession of whiskey and public drunk.

There is another aspect to consider in the decrease in these crimes, DUI grant funding has fallen. State and federal agencies that issue the funds take into consideration how or if the money will be used. If there is no need for additional grant funding, the level is reduced.

Police department officials attribute the reduction in DUI arrests to the strong enforcement they were able to provide by using the funding. While this is a true statement, it is possible that the local availability of beer and liquor kept people closer to home.

What is certain is that, so far, Picayune has not suffered the negative effects as predicted before the vote was passed.