Crackdown – Nevada City busts more drunken drivers, parking violators
In 2004, Nevada City police officers cracked down on drunken drivers and parking meter violators, according to recently released statistics from the city police department.
The number of DUI arrests more than doubled from 2003, which Police Chief Louis Trovato said was due to an increased priority on alcohol-related crimes and extra officers out on the streets.
“We had more grant money and I was able to put out more officers on the streets when people are out driving,” he said.
Last year, 967 drivers were cited for parking at expired meters, more than doubling the 2003 total of 388.
The increase is staggering, considering that the department only hired two additional officers, bringing the department’s total to 11, including Trovato.
“The meter violations are due to the extra officers,” Trovato said. “When the officers have time, they go out and do the meters. For part of the year in 2003, we had an officer injured. If an officer is out for three months, it makes a difference. But some officers enforce parking tickets more than others.”
The amount of parking citations also increased between the two years, from 870 to 1,057; and all other citations, such as a broken tail light, an expired registration, or a speeding ticket, increased from 444 to 911.
Despite the numbers, Trovato said the department did not officially have a higher priority on enforcing parking meter regulations or writing more tickets.
Several people interviewed in Nevada City Thursday afternoon said they did not mind that people who don’t pay meter fees or park illegally are ticketed.
“Parking is always a problem, but rightfully so,” Ron Reno said. “It adds to the character of the town.”
Reno and his wife, Patti Reno, said they always plug quarters into the meters in Nevada City.
“If there’s more violators, it’s fine to give out more tickets,” Ron Reno said. “But if the police department is doing this to pay for extra meter maids, well, maybe they shouldn’t do it.”
Some of the people interviewed, such as Mara Evans, of North San Juan, said that police should pay more attention to drug and alcohol crimes in the area.
“In the bars, there’s always someone speeded out,” Evans said.
Trovato said the department has put in an extra focus on alcohol and drug abuse in town.
Driving under the influence arrests doubled from 2003; from 25 to 70 in 2004.
“There were more foot patrols and bicycle patrols in 2004,” Trovato said.
In what Trovato said are related statistics, hit-and-run accidents decreased from 35 to 19, and drunk-in-public arrests decreased from 96 to 57.
“That relates to enforcement of drunken driving,” Trovato said. “It’s the attention of the officers – they are the ones that have caused the changes.”
Serious crimes stayed steady and low in Nevada City, except for reports of thefts and larcenies, which decreased from 105 in 2003 to 64 in 2004.
“We don’t seem to have a lot of violent crimes up here,” he said. “The more police you put out on the street, the more the bad guys want to behave.”
Reports of assaults increased slightly from 41 to 46, with burglaries increasing from 36 to 37. Reports of robberies decreased from five to one.
By the numbers
Nevada City Police Department statistics:
Meter citations: 967 388
Parking citations: 1,057 870
Vehicle citations: 911 444
DUI arrests: 70 25
Drunk in public arrests: 57 96
Hit and run accidents: 19 35
Homicides: 0 0
Robberies: 1 5
Assaults: 46 41
Burglaries: 37 36
Theft and larcenies: 64 105
Source: Nevada City Police Department
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