TPD, ABLE Commission Focus On Alcohol Crimes To Prevent Other Major Crimes


Monday, November 5th 2012, 6:30 pm
By: News On 6


The Tulsa Police Department and the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement (ABLE) commission have created a task force to improve high crime areas by cracking down on alcohol related offenses.

It's a test case they plan to do for six months to see if it will work as well here as it has in other cities.

They say it worked in Las Vegas. When authorities there focused on alcohol related crimes, they cut major crimes by 30 percent in nine months.

The two high crime areas they're focusing on here are near 61st and South Peoria and near 47th and South Braden.

The three-man task force goes out a few times a month, checking on bars, convenience stores, looking for drunk drivers, being proactive in ways most officers don't have time for anymore, because they are usually running call to call.

"Crimes up, money's down. We don't have enough people. We're all in reactive mode, but if we can prove a couple of hours a month will reduce calls for service on major crimes, it'll free up more officers to do this type of work," said Erik Smoot, of ABLE.

So far, they've been out three times and have done 57 bar checks, issued many tickets and made seven arrests, which cleared up more than 20 outstanding warrants.

"Walked into a bar, there were two 18-year-old girls drinking alcohol, so made a felony case against that," Smoot said. "We had a business—the manager was sitting in the parking lot in his car drinking and under the influence, so arrested him for DUI. And got another DUI just driving between two businesses—ran a red light right in front of us."

And the word is spreading. Now, when they walk into places, bar and convenience store owners say, "We heard you would be stopping in." That alone may prevent some problems.

Many of the problems happening in these two high crime areas in Tulsa are alcohol related, so by cutting down on the drinking issues, they hope to also cut down on the bigger crimes.

"Maybe without the alcohol, they would've made better choices," Smoot said.

TPD said they'll do this for six months and see whether it works and if they should continue it. And they're doing it without paying any overtime: the two TPD officers are doing the special assignment during their regular shifts, a few times a month, and the ABLE agent works nights on those select dates.