Miami Beach Cops Arresting People for DUI a Lot Less, but Not Because People Are Drunk Driving Less

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Last year, Miami Beach police popped just 492 people for driving under the influence. This year, they're on track to arrest 442, with only 221 in the first six months.

In 2009, they arrested just fewer than 1,300 people for DUI. The plunge comes not because people in Miami Beach appear to be drinking and driving less, but because the Miami Beach Police Department decided it has better things to do.

According to the Miami Herald, MBPD reorganized patrol zones, and officers now forgo actively enforcing DUI laws in order to respond to other crimes.

"It's not that we're not focusing on DUIs, but this is a busy, happening community, and we have a lot of issues," Chief Ray Martinez told the paper. "DUI enforcement and traffic enforcement is one of many."

DUI arrests are also down in other parts of the county as well. City of Miami cops made 1,000 DUI arrests in 2012 but made only 327 the first half of 2013. County-wide DUI arrests are down 23 percent since 2009. However, the level of car crashes involving alcohol remains the same. (DUI arrest numbers for the Miami-Dade Police Department and Florida Highway Patrol are actually up.)

Aside from Miami Beach's patrol reorganizations, others blame the reassignment of certain officers who were quite prolific with DUI arrests, complicated court procedures that let some first-time offenders have the charges dropped if they do community service and pay fines (which leads to a lot of paperwork), or just successful public service campaigns reminding people not to drink and drive.

Don't be surprised if there's suddenly a spike in DUI arrests now that the statistics made their way to the Herald's Sunday edition. And, as always, drive safely or call a cab.

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14 comments
mistrwrong
mistrwrong

Miami Beach is smart.  Look at what causes death/injury/property damage and then allocate your assets accordingly.   Crack down on the texters instead.  Texting causes more accidents and kills more teens than DUI.  Texting isn't a primary offense and only a $30 fine.  If you want to look at overall public safety just raise the texting fine to $5000 like DUI and enforce that as well. I have a feeling that if you raise it to $5K, even if it's nominally enforced it will make the beach much safer. 

mayachild
mayachild

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Frank Castle
Frank Castle

when i drink and drive this is what i do, when i go to a club i usually go in late, therefore i will comeout late from the club, usually cops wait for you on the streets at around 3am to 5am thats the time you want to avoid, once the sun's out then thats the best time to drive back home cause you blend in with the morning traffic plus cops are changing shifts after 5am and if you come out before 5am just go to rest or sleep in your car, that little time in the car will help you get sober in the meantime, and if you can eat something while you wait for the sun to come out, problem solved

Joe Matos
Joe Matos

The truth is taking cabs here in miami is very expensive. Its not as expensive as a DUI but in the sense of the money you are going to spend that night you will have to put away 50 plus dollars for cab fare and going out in miami is already expensive enough. If you lower cab fare or give reasonable flat rates I think more people would use that option.

Craig Chester
Craig Chester

It's one piece of the pie. Not a substitution for stronger enforcement. Though can the Miami-area police be trusted these days anyhow?

internetinternet
internetinternet

Miami Beach has a lot of issues.  Confirmed by Chief Ray Martinez.  I would like to see the crime reports from 1 Ocean Drive.  This was a slum year venue.  How is the city making out now that it allowed all these clubs mixed use neighborhoods?  Was it worth the extra tax revenue? 

Markus Wagner
Markus Wagner

Sure - we know that Miami is the capital of superficiality, but do you really believe that even with better car service people here would be persuaded to leave their cars? I would like to think so and I wish Uber all the success in the world, but I frankly think it detracts from other, more important issues. In this case that the PDs here are not particularly good at their job and have entirely given up on prevention.

Joao De Nacimiento
Joao De Nacimiento

Arroz Con Mango! haha. Craig, you have spoken like a true Miami native.

Craig Chester
Craig Chester

I would argue that many people don't take taxis in Miami for social reasons because the experience is generally dismal. So they wind up driving. Uber makes taking a car/taxi an enjoyable experience by streamlining everything - you can see where the car is, how long it will take to get to you, etc. No cash changes hands. You are picked up in a clean, comfortable car. You can hail it from your barstool and walk outside just as it's pulling up and off you go. If you're with a girl, even better - getting your own car service in a black car on demand is pretty sweet. Contrast that with your average experience in a Miami cab....some half-broken down minivan with barely working AC, still smelling like the arroz con mango the driver was eating before he picked you up. Then they have no idea where to take you unless it's 'airport' or 'south beach'.

Markus Wagner
Markus Wagner

Craig, can you explain what change that would bring? I understand that some people like Uber, but those that drink and drive have already chosen not to take a taxi. Why would they use a different service? And the real issue seems to me that Miami Beach PD (as well as other PDs) is not taking prevention as serious as they probably should.

Craig Chester
Craig Chester

Miami needs Uber really badly. It's a total gamechanger.

Alex Anico
Alex Anico

if you go to the beach, youre drinking and driving

clubluis
clubluis

@Donnie Danger thanks for putting anyones lives in danger such a father going into work in the morning sine you cant control a bad habit you douchebag. you could just get a designated driver but hey you assume you have control like the way you cant control a bottle, then you want to leak out a secret tip of yours to put more in danger. in florida now you might be considered wore than aaron hernandez and casey anthony

DavidDennis
DavidDennis

@Craig Chester I suspect people don't take taxis in Miami because they are so expensive!  Isn't the rate something like $1.80 per 1/4 mile?  If Uber can charge less than that, I think you are right that it could become a game changer ...

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