HAMPTON — These planning to drink to extra then get behind the wheel and drive house ought to rethink doing that in Hampton, for native police are posting report numbers of DWI arrests this yr.
In line with statistics compiled by Hampton Deputy Police Chief Alex Reno, within the first two weeks of August alone, Hampton police made 30 arrests for driving whereas inebriated or medication. That’s greater than related arrests made in the complete month of August in 2020 or 2019, which had 27 and 28 DWI arrests, respectively.
This month’s rising DWI arrest numbers comply with a pattern that began this yr, in line with Hampton Police Chief David Hobbs. In the course of the first quarter of 2021 (January via March), Hobbs stated, Hampton officers made 56 DWI arrests. Throughout 2020, there have been 28 related arrests throughout the identical interval. And because the coronavirus pandemic in all probability affected 2020’s numbers, Hobbs added first quarter of 2019 had 45 DWI arrests, 11 fewer than this yr.
The most important purpose for the rise is aggressive police patrols, Hobbs stated. Hampton’s officers are specializing in getting impaired drivers off the roads, he stated, as a result of they perceive the tragic influence they’ve on public security.
In line with Reno, from January via August of this yr, Hampton officers charged 219 folks with driving whereas beneath the affect of medicine or alcohol. In all of 2019, a non-pandemic yr, 217 DWI arrests have been made, Reno stated, In 2020, there have been 201.
A mecca for vacationers, Hampton is exclusive among the many Granite State’s Seacoast communities, due to its festive ambiance and numerous consuming and ingesting institutions each uptown and on the seaside, many providing leisure and lots of open year-round.
The city and its sights can draw as many as 100,000 in- and out-of-state beachgoers, long-term vacationers and night revelers on any given day in the course of the vacationer season. Those that frequent its sights can embody day-trippers, resort and rental house guests, the Seacoast’s seasonal residents with personal properties, in addition to year-round residents.
For instance, though additionally a seaside neighborhood with 1000’s of summer time guests, neighboring Seabrook has a special profile than Hampton. Its city seaside attracts a fraction of the guests as Hampton’s seashores, and there aren’t as many lounges as at Hampton Seaside. Nor does it have Hampton’s boardwalk.
These variations could be the purpose why Seabrook’s DWI arrests are decrease than Hampton’s. Seabrook police made 35 DWI arrests in 2019, 40 in 2020. And from January via July of this yr, Seabrook officers charged 26 folks with DWI offenses.
In Hampton, each Hobbs and Reno stated, the division works together with the New Hampshire Liquor Fee’s Enforcement Bureau to think about over-serving points at its many bars.
Reno stated, Hampton makes use of state Freeway Security grants to underwrite the bills concerned with its impaired driving patrols. The grant requires officers to ask these arrested for drunk driving the place they have been coming from, in an effort to detect patterns of over-serving at institutions.
“(Over-serving) continues to be a priority for us,” Hobbs stated. “After we are in a position to decide patterns or incidents of over-service, we do be certain that our companions at New Hampshire Liquor Enforcement are concerned for any applicable follow-ups or some other costs.”
Hobbs stated the division had held a compliance test earlier within the yr, together with NHLC’s Enforcement Bureau, to make sure native liquor serving institutions are following the legal guidelines.
Reno stated though DWI arrests are made in any respect hours of the day and evening, Hampton’s officers are on patrol each in cruisers and on foot throughout peak hours of 9 p.m. to three a.m. Final weekend, Reno was on late evening patrol alongside the seaside when the bars have been closing and observed a person go away an institution clearly inebriated.
“He was strolling sideways,” Reno stated. “And he went proper over and acquired on his bike and began speaking together with his buddies.”
Reno approached in hopes of discouraging the person from driving house. Reno defined that as of that second, the person had executed nothing unlawful. However ought to he try and drive in his situation not solely would he be breaking the regulation, however he’d put himself and others in severe hazard. It labored, Reno stated, and a possible tragedy was averted.
Reno stated in some methods he’s inspired by what he’s seen this yr, for the rise in vigilance towards impaired drivers makes for safer driving for everybody else. Moreover, he stated, each he and fellow officers are noticing that as some people go away bars, extra of them are pulling out their cell telephones and calling for rides from Uber or different sources, as an alternative of driving themselves.
Statewide effort to get impaired drivers off the highway
Hampton’s diligence to guard its roads meshes with state efforts to do the identical on state highways. New Hampshire State Police Troop A in Epping can also be looking out for impaired drivers.
In line with Captain John Hennessey, commander of Area Space III, Troop A posted about 140 driving whereas intoxicated arrests within the first half of 2021. That’s pretty according to earlier non-pandemic years, he stated, for in 2019 troopers made 325 arrests for DWI offenses, which can be as a result of alcohol or medication.
However this yr’s numbers are about to rise, as New Hampshire implements its half within the nationwide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Marketing campaign,” which begins Wednesday. It’s funded by the U.S. Division of Transportation’s Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security and New Hampshire’s Workplace of Freeway Security.
In line with New Hampshire State Police Captain Christopher Vetter, commander of the state Workplace of Freeway Security, information collected exhibits that final yr, 39 folks died on account of alcohol-related crashes. Moreover, the state decided the ten roads with essentially the most crashes brought on by impaired drivers, Vetter stated, and within the Seacoast, they embody Route 101, Interstate 95 and Route 1A, from Seabrook via Rye.
Governor Chris Sununu and state Security Commissioner Robert Quinn, kicked off the marketing campaign Tuesday together with different state and native security officers. Vetter stated whereas police implement DWI legal guidelines 24 hours a day, seven days per week, this initiative is an enhancement.
“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over might be a three-week marketing campaign designed to get impaired drivers off the roads,” Vetter stated, “Together with elevated enforcement there might be an academic element. It’s actually my hope that regulation enforcement intervention is the final choice.”
Like different communities within the state, the grants Hampton makes use of to enhance its impaired driver patrols come from Vetter’s workplace. When he realized of the city’s arrest statistics this yr, Vetter, a Hampton resident himself, was impressed.
“I applaud the Hampton Police Division for its vigorous enforcement of our DWI legal guidelines,” Vetter stated. “There isn’t a doubt this has saved lives.”