San Diego fights to decrease alcohol-related crimes

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Community members met Friday to get ideas on how to reduce DUI’s and alcohol-related incidents in San Diego.

They looked at what some of the cities in New Mexico, of all sates, did that have similar problems.

Many of the recent deadly traffic accidents in San Diego have involved alcohol.

But it’s not just deadly accidents.

"We have some of the highest violent crimes statistics and they are virtually all alcohol related crimes in our business district," said Scott Chipman, who has lived in Pacific Beach for 40 years.

On Friday, the Alcohol Police Panel of San Diego County, which is made up of community leaders, met to hear what several cities in New Mexico have done to successfully curb the problem of excessive drinking.

One of the initiatives that seems to have worked is increasing law enforcement operations to detect the over-serving of alcohol in bars and restaurants.

"When you have undercover enforcement it lets the retailer know that they’re being monitored, making sure they are not over serving their patrons and we really need that here," said Eric Collins, of the Alcohol Police Panel of San Diego County.

As we’ve reported, the concerns in Pacific Beach are well known.

"Communities like Pacific Beach come up because here are a large number of zip codes with in PB that are what we call ‘over-concentrated’ — too many alcohol licenses per census track," Collins said.

Why is this happening?

"Sometimes the ABC is allowing licenses even when it’s over concentrated. Sometimes, you have the city or planning board that believes a particular license will still benefit the community," Collins added. "What they’re doing in New Mexico is they’re doing these "municipal alcohol plans where they are being a little more mindful of how close alcohol retailers are next to each other.

"We need local control. that’s what we’ve been arguing for a decade or more," Chipman said.

And concerned community leaders say they will continue to take that argument to local law makers.

"We’re hopeful that our elected leaders will start looking at having a municipal alcohol plan and work with the community a little bit more," Collins said.

Categories: Local San Diego News