San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

April 20th, 2009
Alcohol related arrests in San Marcos on the decline

News Reporter

Recent statistics shown on the San Marcos City Web site confirm that alcohol related citations in San Marcos are declining. Compared to 2005, minor in possession (MIP) citations, public intoxication citations and driving while intoxicated arrests have all decreased.

According to the statistics shown on the San Marcos Police Department (SMPD) “Year in Review” presentation, there were 465 MIP citations and 435 public intoxication citations issued in 2005. However, in 2007 there were only 114 MIP citations and 252 public intoxication arrests and citations.

DWI arrests in San Marcos have steadily decreased in recent years as well. In 2004 there were over 150 DWI arrests. In 2006, there were fewer than 100.

SMPD Commander Warren Zerr said the decrease in citations can be attributed to the increase in awareness.

“I think people are starting to take a little more responsibility when they drink,” Zerr said. “Students especially, are starting to realize the consequences of their actions.”

Alcohol and health awareness is on the rise in San Marcos. The San Marcos city web site gives citizens multiple resources to aid in alcohol problems, including a full schedule of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in the area.

The SMPD continues to maintain working relationships with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), planning department and code enforcement. SMPD is also a member of the Regional Alcohol Issues Network.

Leslie Rice, bartender at Rocky LaRue’s in San Marcos, said she hasn’t noticed a decrease in the amount of police coverage.

“The cops are on the square like always, drinkers are just making smarter decisions,” Rice said.

Texas State University offers more resources than ever before to students to help prevent alcohol related issues.

Students with Alternative Transportation (SWAT) is a student organization that offers safe rides, free of charge, to Texas State University students who are intoxicated, and to students who are unable to drive because of other conditions. The hours of service are Thursday through Saturday from 11 p.m.-3 a.m.

Judy Row is the director of the Alcohol and Drug Resource Center and advisor for SWAT.

“SWAT gives 1,200 to 1,500 rides per nine months. That means at least that number were not on the roads after drinking,” said Judy Row, director of the Alcohol and Drug Resource Center and advisor for SWAT.

SWAT volunteer Alex Zotarelli said he enjoys volunteering and being a part of the organization.

“I feel good about helping other students out,” Zotarelli said. “If I can make a difference, I will.”

The Alcohol and Drug Resource Center (ADRC) at Texas State University offers an alcohol awareness classes to students. The ADRC also offers counseling, educational programs and a resource library.

The information available helps inform students of the responsibility and consequences that come with drinking alcohol.

The San Marcos Police Department will hold its annual “Year in Review” program at City Hall at 7 p.m. on April 30. The program will release the most current statistics from 2008.

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0 thoughts on “Alcohol related arrests in San Marcos on the decline

  1. Do the statistics point to less drunk driving, or less enforcement? It would be nice to see a little more digging into what the statistics actually mean.

  2. There were only 100 DWI arrests in 2006?

    I would bet my left foot there will be at least 100 drunk drivers passing through the Square this Friday night.

  3. Remember that there are several agencies with jurisdiction in San Marcos.

    I just went through about 700 pages of reports for 2008, which seems more relevant than 2006, and this is what I found:

    181 DWI/DUI arrests by SMPD
    31 DWI/DUI arrests by Texas State University PD
    172 DWI/DUI arrests by Hays County Sheriff
    252 DWI/DUI arrests by DPS

    Granted, the DPS and Sheriff arrests were for all of Hays County, but almost certainly a significant portion of those took place in San Marcos.

    Kyle PD only had 49 DWI/DUI arrests. Maybe they do less enforcement. Maybe they have less drunk driving. I suspect it may be the latter, but I don’t know. I know that we have a little less than twice the population and about 4.5x the DWI/DUI arrests, based on the SMPD and TXST numbers alone.

    I didn’t even count the PI arrests, because it is almost 2:00 in the morning and I have to work in a few hours, but I would definitely question the assertion that “I think people are starting to take a little more responsibility when they drink.” I’d also question whether we are doing enough to control this problem, whether there were 100 arrests in San Marcos or 500+.

  4. The 2007 report cited by this story shows 185 DWI/DUI arrests for 2007, compared to what looks like about 150 for 2006.

    So, the “decline,” whether it was from reduced enforcement or “more responsibility” appears to have reversed itself over the last two years.

    2007 and 2008 appear to be worse than 2005 as well.

    What is most interesting (to me) is that there appear to have been nearly 400 DWI/DUI arrests by SMPD in 2003. Then, in 2004, they dropped to about 200. What happened between 2003 and 2004?

    Oh yeah. We got a new chief of police in July of 2003.


    Did he implement some miraculous awareness program?

    Or, did enforcement just drop off?

    I honestly can’t remember, but I would love to hear the answer. I’d also love to see the numbers for 2000, 2001 and 2002, but I have not been able to find them yet.

  5. Adjust away.

    I’m just guessing here, because I can’t find the numbers, but if there were 200 arrests in 2004, that probably works out to 100 in the first half and 100 in the second half.

    That gives me the impression that there might have been 300 in the first half of 2003 and 100 in the second half, after the leadership change.

    This makes me really want to see the 2002 numbers, because I wonder if there may have been 500-600 arrests that year.

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