An overview of alcohol-related crime in Newark
On Oct. 20, police broke up a large party during the day at a residence in the 300 block of East Park Place and arrested 100 people, the majority of whom were university students, for underage drinking.
Party dispersions of this nature occur almost-regularly each year. In 2016, 180 people were similarly prosecuted during another police raid on a party on East Park Place, and in 2014, police issued citations to 145 during a party on Continental Avenue.
Despite the university’s recent ascension to the status of top party school in the country, rising steadily in the rankings over the past several years, crime statistics show that students are currently no more likely to be arrested for underage drinking or related intoxication crimes than they have been in years past.
Newark Police Department (NPD) arrested 265 people for alcohol-related violations in 2017, and 297 have thus far been arrested in 2018. According to Lieutenant Andrew Rubin, the public information officer for the NPD, the uptick in arrests this year is likely not part of a trend.
If anything, there appears to be a gradual decline in alcohol-related violations over the past several years. In 2010, the NPD charged 835 people with alcohol-related violations and 681 in 2011.
2016 stands out with an abnormal 1,031 alcohol arrests made, the vast majority of which occurred during Oct. Prior to the party bust on Sept. 17, 2016, where 180 individuals were arrested as mentioned above, 435 individuals had been arrested for alcohol-related crimes. That number skyrockets to 1,003 arrests by Oct. 31.
Those figures do not include arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. DUI arrests have, in fact, sharply decreased over the past decade, not only in Newark but in Delaware as a whole.
According to Cynthia L. Cavett, a spokesperson for the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, DUI arrests statewide have decreased from 4,577 in 2013 to 3,005 as of Sept. 29 this year.
“Over the last six, seven years, I mean, we used to get 10 to 15 DUIs a night, we now maybe get two to three,” Rubin said. “I’d like to say those numbers went down because of enforcement, but to be honest with you I think Lyft and Uber have made a huge difference with less DUI. It’s because of enforcement. It’s a cultural change, you know, it’s because the Office of Highway Safety spends a lot amounts of money of DUI education.”
Despite the possible perception that party dispersal operations, like the one on Oct. 20, occur with some regularity as a means for police to “flex their muscles,” officials maintain that there is no pre-meditated agenda for these raids — they occur when the need arises.
“We have the ability to do this whenever we come upon a loud, disorderly party,” Rubin said. “You know, underage consumption of alcohol is illegal, having a loud, disorderly party is illegal, in this case the officers observed that this was the best course of action. I can’t say that we do this on a yearly, regular basis. We do this when we find it necessary. It’s happened once this year. Could it happen again? Absolutely.”