Georgia DUI Arrests Continue to Drop

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jun 02, 2017 | 0 Comments

Atlanta's Channel 2 News did an investigation into the decreasing amount of DUI arrests over the past ten years. They reported that the number of DUI arrests statewide has dropped nearly 50% in less than a decade. In spite of the decreased number of arrests, Georgia's DUI death toll is one of the highest in the country. Many people assume it is related to the increase in transportation services such as Uber or Lyft, but the investigation found that was not completely the case. 

Surprisingly, Channel 2 found that the predominant reason was the increase in violent crime, which has reduced the number on officers on the roads. The decrease in the emphasis on DUI enforcement was the single greatest factor in the decline in the number of arrests.  

Georgia's violent crime rate has increased over the past couple years, especially in Atlanta. In 2014, there were 11,535 arrests for violent crime, 47,951 arrests for property crime and 39,374 arrests for larceny/theft. Officers are needed to respond to these crimes, and as a result, traffic enforcement has become less important to police. 

Even Georgia State Troopers are writing less DUI tickets. They wrote more than 15,000 DUI tickets in 2016, but that was down 16% from two years earlier. Much of that decline can be attributed to the re-assignment of the GSP to guard political events and social demonstrations. 

It is evident that there is a shortage of officers on the road and understandable as well. It would be hard to explain officers putting traffic tickets before robberies or domestic violence issues. However, something still needs to be done about the drastic decrease in DUI tickets written; especially when the number of DUI related deaths continues to rise.  

It will be interesting to see what happens in the future and whether law enforcement agencies can dedicate more officers to DUI detection. The Atlanta Police Department no longer even has a DUI Task Force as they did for many years.

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Richard Lawson

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