John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
As COVID Restrictions Ease, DUI Arrests in the Newtown Area Are Zooming!

As COVID Restrictions Ease, DUI Arrests in the Newtown Area Are Zooming!

I've been noticing that arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) account for a majority or large portion of incidents in recent weekly Newtown Police incident reports. In the June 11 to 17, 2021, Incident Blotter, for example, 5 of the 12 incidents involved a DUI arrest. One involved a vehicle crashing into a tree and overturning! Most (4) of these incidents occurred between the hours of 10 PM and 2 AM, one was at 4:30 PM.

I wondered if there was a trend related to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions on serving alcohol in restaurants and bars. So I plotted the data for a 24-month period from July 2019 through May 2021. See the chart below.

A: Effective July 15, 2020, nightclubs had to shut down, bars were closed
unless they also offered dine-in meals, and bars and restaurants
were be limited to 25% capacity. B: Effective May 31, 2021,
restaurants and bars no longer have capacity limits.

What's interesting is the fact that in the months PRIOR to COVID restrictions that began in March, 2020 (Jan 2019 through February 2020), there were, on average, 4 DUI arrests per month. In contrast, the average for the months from January 2021 through May 2021 when restrictions eased is 15 DUI arrests per month!

NOTE: In April and May 2020, the Newtown Police made fewer patrols to protect the force from infection. Consequently, the number of DUI arrests for those months are perhaps lower than usual.

What About Other Substance Abuse Incidents?
Projections are based on the April, 2021, NT Police Report 
presented at the May 12, 2021, BOS public meeting.

According to my survey of issues important to Newtown voters this year, only 20% of respondents during the period of 2020-2021 (YTD) consider “Drug Abuse” of HIGH IMPORTANCE compared to 38% in the period 2018-2019 (before COVID).

From the police data shown in the chart above, drug abuse increased dramatically during COVID-19, yet people seem to be ignoring the problem or are not aware of the problem. A reporting system called ODMAP shows that the early months of the pandemic brought an 18% increase nationwide in overdoses compared with those same months in 2019. The trend has continued throughout 2020, according to a report by the American Medical Association.

It seems to me that we are going through a period of excessive indulgence in previously restricted activities, especially out-of-home eating, drinking, and taking drugs; i.e., we're on a binge! And there's no telling when it will end.

NT PD Statistics for May 2021

See the embedded PDF below or download the file here.

Posted on 24 Jun 2021, 01:39 - Category: Police

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The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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