Thursday, December 16, 2010

Time of the crime

I have been promising the news media that I would provide some data eventually on the impact of the change in the mandatory bar closing time in Lincoln from 1:00 AM to 2:00 AM.  This change became effective on Sept. 17, and more time will need to pass before we can draw any firm conclusion. 

Nonetheless, I took my first stab at analyzing data yesterday, by looking at the time profile of DWI cases before and after the change.  The first graph (blue) below presents the time distribution of DWI cases in the (not quite) three months since the change was made, the second (red) shows the distribution during the same period last year, and the third (orange) shows the three months in 2010 immediately prior to the change. 

2010
20092010pre
I wouldn’t make much of the difference in the overall numbers, since DWI enforcement is heavily influenced by the available time of officers and by the weather.  I do, however, think the time profile is interesting.  In comparing the past three months with a 2:00 AM close to both the preceding three months, and to the same period last year, it is evident that the peak has moved to the hour-of-power: now 2:00 AM to 3:00 AM for drunk driving.  Moreover, this preliminary look at the data shows that the peak now stretches over a two hour period from 1:00 AM to 3:00 AM.  It will be interesting to see if this observation holds as more data is accumulated over time.

Anecdotally, officers tell me that the intensity of bar break seems to be a little less this year with the later closing time. This may mean that the exodus spreads over a longer time period. Mind you, 2:00 AM bar break downtown on weekends is still a sight to behold, but perhaps not quite as crazy as 1:00 AM bar break would have appeared in previous years.

17 comments:

Steve said...

It seems clear from the data that each bar should have its own special closing time, and that they should be spread out over the twenty-four hour period. That would spread out the hour of power so the night shift doesn't have all the fun.

JIM J said...

I see many cars with blue, yellow even green headlights...are they legal?

Anonymous said...

The preliminary data definitely shows that the later closing time has not moved the peak number of drunk drivers to an hour later like the supporters of the extension said would happen, but has spread the amount of time there are a large amount of drunks on the road. It appears the bar break is not as bad as it was with the 1AM closing because a number of drunks are apparently leaving before the 2AM closing.

An extra hour of DWIs can't be a good thing. Some young reporter should jump on this.

Anonymous said...

The bars should be open 24 hrs a day. That way it would be spread out and all the drunks wouldn't be running into each other in one hour. There would be no "power hour". Of course morning rush hour for sober working people would be more dangerous.

Anonymous said...

"Some young reporter should jump on this."

Good luck on that one. Most of the junior hacks at the Urinal-Jar supported the 2am change, because, like, it was big-city.

Steve said...

Jim J:

Are you sure you're not under the influence?

Just kidding!

I see some odd-looking headlights at times, too, especially the blue ones. My guess is, that even if they don't meet the legal requirements for headlights, people won't be ticketed for them (unless it is simply used as a reason for a traffic stop to check for other possible violations). There are thousands of cars running around with stuff over their license plates, dark tinted windows, no license plates, loud, rumbling sound systems, crap hanging from rear-view mirrors, and any number of other clear violations of the law. I don't suppose we have enough officers or can spare their time to actually stop all these people and ticket them.

Anonymous said...

Steve: That is called selective law enforcement. I think the oath says " Enforce ALL laws" not just the ones their is time for...Chief's turn

Steve said...

Just to be clear, I wasn't criticizing LPD for not enforcing many of our laws. There is no doubt that they don't have the manpower they would need to enforce every violation they witness. If it were up to me, the manpower would be available, and we'd be able to "nip it in the bud" when it comes to many of these minor violations. Seems to me that the more people find they can "get away with" the more they push the limits.

Anonymous said...

An officer can issue ticket(s) but it doesn't mean the city attorney or county attorney will actually charge the person with the offense; many are dismissed from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

JIMJ-The green headlights on a modified Chrysler would indicate the Green Hornet is in the area. Yellow would probably be some form of foglamp. Don't know about Nebraska, but here you are in deep dodo if you have red or blue lights showing to the front of a vehicle if you are not authorized.

256

Anonymous said...

Chief, how long does it take to investigate a DUI? How many arrests can one officer make in a day? year???

Tom Casady said...

11:18-

It varies. Each case is different. If everything goes smoothly, you can wrap one up in about an hour. If you have to wait on a wrecker, cope with a faked heart attack, and get a fitness-for-confinement, you're toast for the shift. Then there's the administrative license revocation hearing, two continuances, and three court appearances down the road....

Anonymous said...

Sounds like we need more cops in this town.

Anonymous said...

just out of curiousity what does the data show for speeding(1-5 mph over), left of center, and stop sign violations over the various hours of the day>

Anonymous said...

This data is interesting but I am not sure how we will ever be able to measure the true impact. If anything it is both good and bad. I would challenge that the number of people driving drunk has not increased but because they are spreading things out it is possible to capture more of them. Because the LPD officers are not hit all at the same time thus some were sneaking by.
The bad is the number of hours the rest of us are exposed. However in my case my butt wouldn't be out at 1am and it certainly wouldn't be out at 2am.
I would have to say I personally think the 2am time is better because we are capturing more of them. Some of which will learn a lesson. The thought that there are fewer drunks on the road with a 1am time I think is impractical.

Anonymous said...

It looks to me like the odds of getting caught driving drunk just went up.

There are only so many officers to catch all of them coming home in one hour, but spread it over two hours and it appears that officers can spend another hour in their favorite fishing holes!

totals from 1-4am
236 June-Sep 10
284 Sep-Dec 09
320 Sep-Dec 10

Drive drunk and you have better odds of getting caught than winning at a Council Bluff casino!

Anonymous said...

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LINK