The city of Arab, Alabama, recently got an unexpected surprise: research by the city’s police chief, Mike Blackwood, found that alcohol related offenses have not risen since 2008, when the town decided to begin allowing sale of spirits. But that’s not all, according to a recent statement from Blackwood that appeared in the Cullman Times online. “We’ve seen about a 6 percent decrease in alcohol-related crimes,” he adds, and though he warns that it’s still fairly early in the game to draw conclusions, “so far the alcohol-related crime is down.”
Additionally, Blackwood says that statistics he collected from other towns in the region who decided to lift bans on the sale of alcohol reported similar drops in violent crime related to alcohol consumption. But perhaps the most interesting facet of Blackwood’s findings has to do with how the number of people drinking and driving through the area has dropped as well.
“In the past, a lot of people would come through heading to other places and drink while they drove through Arab going home, Blackwood says. “Now, it seems more people are just buying it here and going on home.” One significant factor in explaining this may have to do with the addition of several clubs in the area that now serve spirits, which area locals can visit without having to drive outside the county for a drink. In effect, the lifting of prohibition in this region not only reduces the stress on the police force, but it has made legally consuming alcohol less of a hassle for the citizenry, and with its new accessibility, a much safer practice.