By ALEXANDRIA AEBI
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.