Alcohol seen as major crime factor
BY KENDRICK MARSHALL World Staff Writer
Monday, November 19, 2012
11/19/12 at 8:05 AM
Cracking down on alcohol-related offenses could be the key to reducing major crimes.
The Tulsa Police Department has teamed up with the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission to provide alcohol enforcement in targeted areas to conduct compliance checks on several bars, convenience stores and liquor stores in the 6100 block of South Peoria Avenue and the 4700 block of South Braden Avenue, according to Agent Erik Smoot.
In addition to the compliance checks, police are also investigating other criminal activity around those establishments and businesses.
"We hope to be a visible presence in these areas to make sure everyone knows our intentions of reducing major crimes," Smoot said.
The initiative was developed after Smoot attended a conference in Las Vegas, where local law enforcement officials there touted how curbing alcohol-related offenses reduced violent crime by 30 percent over a nine-month period in high-crime areas.
Since starting the sweeps in Tulsa last month, 57 bars have been checked resulting in seven arrests, multiple citations issued and 23 outstanding warrants cleared.
"If you're hanging out around a liquor store, you're probably doing something you shouldn't be doing,'' said Smoot, whose small team of two other Tulsa police officers has made DUI and underage drinking arrests.
Twice a month for the next six months the team will be conducting these checks, with the ultimate goal of making a significant dent in crimes attributed to alcohol.
Many establishment owners who have become aware of increased police activity are taking proactive measures to ensure problems don't arise in and around their businesses, Smoot said.
"They are spreading the word," he said. "We want to be out. We want them to get used to seeing us."
Original Print Headline: Checking compliance
Kendrick Marshall 918-581-8386
ABLE Commission agent Erik Smoot (center) and Tulsa Police Officer Mitch Helberg (right) talk with bartender Janet Silva during an alcohol compliance check at The Big Easy near 66th Street and Peoria Avenue in Tulsa last week. Authorities hope the sweeps will reduce crime, saying that many criminals are intoxicated when they commit offenses. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
Tulsa Police Officer Mitch Helberg talks with a shopkeeper near 61st Street and Peoria Avenue during an alcohol compliance check last week. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
ABLE Commission agent Erik Smoot inspects the bar equipment at Sideline Sports Bar near 61st Street and Lewis Avenue in Tulsa during an alcohol compliance check last week. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
ABLE Commission agent Erik Smoot (left) checks licensing paperwork with bartender Janet Silva at The Big Easy. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
Tulsa Police Officer Mitch Helberg checks on a convenience store during an alcohol compliance check. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World