Crime Has Not Increased Since the County Went Wet

The Lufkin Police Department received more calls of disturbance, violence and criminal activity last year than they have to date this year. The numbers may be a surprise to opponents of retail alcohol sales who argue alcohol equals crime, but not to law enforcement agents.

Last year, Lufkin police arrested 111 people for driving while intoxicated. Officers also made 111 arrests for public intoxication. This year, the L.P.D. made 80 drunk driving arrests and 118 public intoxication arrests.

Lt. David Young said, "We didn't expect to see just a real big change. We didn't know if we would see a change with more alcohol-related incidents or not, and it's proven so far to us to be that there's really very little difference; we don't notice any change."

But the number of citations written to minors in possession of alcohol has increased since the county went wet. Last year, 47 teenagers enrolled in the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council's M.I.P. Class, compared to 65 this year. The course teaches kids about social responsibility and how alcohol affects the brain.

A.D.A.C. Executive Director Phyllis Grandgeorge said, "A lot of times we'll see parents not get involved in that and not gather the information that the young person gets, and I think that any minor who receives an M.I.P. ticket, the parent needs to be actively involved and get the same information that adolescent is getting."

Since the wet/dry election, there has also been an increase in the number of Angelina County residents seeking substance abuse treatment from the A.D.A.C.