Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Liquor licenses proliferate

Officer Conan Schafer has recently taken over responsibility for overseeing liquor license investigation and enforcement at the Lincoln Police Department, and liaison with licensees and the City Council on such matters. He has been working on the police department's liquor license database, bringing everything up to date. I asked him to straighten up the addresses a little bit during this process, to try to get them into a consistent format so they will geocode more easily.

A few times a year, I need a geographic layer of liquor licenses for one reason or another--most recently to provide this information to HunchLab for their predictive algorithm. I usually have to spend some significant time cleaning up the addresses before geocoding, but this time it was a snap. Here's a map of the 481 liquor licenses in Lincoln right now:

Click image for larger version

I found a slide in a PowerPoint I did for a 2005 conference presentation, which pegged the number of liquor licenses at 373. We appear to have 108 more licenses in 2014 than in 2005, a 29% increase in the past decade. My vague recollection is that the entire City had less than 100 liquor licenses when I pinned on the badge in the summer of 1974.

There's a lot of research about the correlation of alcohol outlets with crime and disorder, particularly associating the density of outlets with these phenomenon. We certainly have some areas in Lincoln with a dense concentration of licenses, but I'm of the opinion that the relationship of alcohol outlets to crime and disorder is quite different based on the type of outlets and their business practices. Don't let the customers  get drunk, and problems are considerably reduced, both inside the establishment and in the general neighborhood.


Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see how many of those new licenses are within a 6 or 10 block radius of the Pinnacle Bank Arena, and the correlation of police calls and general traffic patterns seen since the Railyard area was developed.

Tim Hegarty said...

"Don't let the customers get drunk." I assume what you are really talking about is over-service, or serving to people who are already intoxicated, which is a far greater problem than serving to minors. The latter is far easier to enforce than the former, which is why we tend to focus on minors in conducting alcohol enforcement in bar districts. Has LPD had any success in addressing over-service?

Anonymous said...

Not to spoil this thread but recently a handful of officers on the department have purchased their own body cameras to wear while on duty. I am troubled by the fact that the department won't allocate money to supply LPD officers with body cams when they want to, or feel they need to wear them to protect themselves. Yes you recently posted about cost and technology but if you're always waiting for better technology then that's what you're always going to be doing. Waiting. The cost of body cams sure does out way the cost that the City of Ferguson is paying right now to protect the city and deal with those problems.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

We're taking over America a little bit at a time!

ARRRRG!!!! said...

We're taking over America a little bit at a time!

Tom Casady said...


Limited, but yes. We're sending a lot more violations to the Liquor Control Commission these days, and we've implemented mandatory server education. The metric we watch closely is the BAC of clients admitted to detox who claim to have been drinking at bars.


I'm in favor, but you cannot ignore the costs. Madison, WI (similar to Lincoln) has just released their report, and projected over $900,000 dollars in first year. My previous estimate of annual cost of $545K in year one, and $385K annually thereafter may be low.

The budget process doesn't turn on a dime, and this will take some time. That said, I can't rule out a smaller trial deployment, particularly if some grant funding really becomes available.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see a map of off-sale locations in, oh, 1980 or so, and off-sale locations today.