Category Archives: Driving Under the Influence

Crime in America drops for fourth straight year

Crime has fallen again

The Federal Bureau of Investigation released today its annual report on crime in America in 2010 and, in a continuing trend now four years running — and really a long downward arc since the 1990s — crime is down across the board.

Murder is down 4.2 percent. Rape is down five percent. Aggravated assault is down 4.1 percent. Burglary’s down two percent. Arson? A 7.6 percent decline.

Criminologists sometimes peg high unemployment with higher crime rates. But that didn’t happen in the sluggish growth of 2010. I welcome your theories as to what’s going on there.

Some other tidbits from the FBI:

  • Total number of crimes reported: 10,329,135 (1,246,248 violent crimes and 9,082,887 property crimes);
  • Most common violent crime: aggravated assault (62.5 percent of all violent crimes during 2010);
  • Most common property crime: larceny-theft (68.2 percent of all property crimes during 2010);
  • Top three crimes for which law enforcement reported arrests: drug abuse violations (1,638,846), driving while intoxicated (1,412,223), and larceny-theft (1,271,410);
  • Total number of arrests, excluding traffic violations: 13,120,947, including 552,077 for violent crimes and 1,643,962 for property crimes (the number of arrests doesn’t reflect the number of individuals arrested—some individuals may have been arrested more than once);
  • Most common characteristics of arrestees: 74.5 percent of arrestees were male, and 69.4 percent of arrestees were white;
  • How often firearms were used in crimes: in 67.5 percent of reported murders, 41.4 percent of reported robberies, and 20.6 percent of aggravated assaults; and
  • Total losses for victims of property crimes, excluding arsons: an estimated $15.7 billion.

Impaired Driving the Focus of 2011’s Gig Harbor Justice Summit

Whether you’re interested in learning more about our state’s DUI laws or a lawyer looking to get some CLE credits, the 2011 Gig Harbor Criminal Justice Summit will not disappoint.

The summit, from Feb. 28 to March 2 at the Inn at Gig Harbor, will feature several high profile criminal justice speakers, including crime author Ann Rule, attorney general Rob McKenna and our very own Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge. This year’s focus will be on impaired driving.

For more details, click here. You do have to register, however: it’s $175, including meals, for the three days of panels and speakers.

UPDATE: Do Kitsap’s DUI Offenders Wear Anklets Like Lindsay Lohan?

You may have seen the ankle bracelets that are capable of monitoring alcohol consumption. The devices, which measure vapors given off by perspiration, have become increasingly common and have even been spotted on celebrities like Lindsay Lohan.

I was curious if we had any such technology here in Kitsap, so I asked Kitsap County’s district court administrator Maury Baker, who oversees the largest court that handles DUI in the county.

“We have not used these and have been aware of them since they hit the market,” Baker wrote me in an email.

UPDATE: Monday, 9:11 a.m.: I got an email from a local attorney who told me they’re in use in Bainbridge Island and Poulsbo’s municipal courts. I’ll get more info on them today.

I showed Baker an article in the Dallas Morning News about the device’s use in Texas. You can read it here.

But Baker feels Kitsap’s method of monitoring — the ignition interlock device (IID) or “blow and go” — has an advantage over the anklet.

“As the article states, the (ankle) sensor does not stop one from driving drunk,” Baker wrote. “The IID disables the vehicle.”

‘Operation Dry Water’ Aims to Curb BUIs

A national emphasis is planned for next weekend to get those boating under the influence — BUI for short — off the water.

Law enforcement agencies in the area with a regular maritime presence are expected to participate June 25-27, according to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. They’re calling it “Operation Dry Water.”

The BUI law is basically the same as the DUI law — no driving over a .08 blood alcohol level.

Here’s some tips from the Office of the State Fire Marshal:

“With boating season in full swing, it is important to observe and practice safety afloat. We are offering these boating safety tips, hoping you will have many fun and safe boating experiences,” says State Fire Marshal Charles M. Duffy.

1. Leave Alcohol on Shore: In 2008, alcohol was either a direct or indirect contributing factor in 35 percent of all boating fatalities.

2. Take a Boating Safety Course: More than 70 percent of all reported boating fatalities in 2007 occurred on boats where the operator had not completed a boating safety course. You may even qualify for a reduced insurance rate if you complete a safety course. Contact your local Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron chapter or visit for more information on courses in your area.

3. File a Float Plan: The U.S. Coast Guard recommends that you always tell a friend or family member where you plan to go and when you will return. Make it a habit before leaving on any boat trip. The proper officials can be notified promptly if you don’t return when expected.

4. Be Weather-Wise: A calm day can quickly turn ugly on the water. Keep an eye out for changing weather conditions and stay on top of the forecast while boating. Promptly heed all weather and storm advisories.

5. Use and Maintain the Right Safety Equipment:

a. Life Jackets and Personal Flotation Devices – State law requires each person on board to have a properly-fitting U.S. Coast Guard approved serviceable life jacket. Also, boats longer than 16 feet must have a throwable Personal Flotation Device.

b. Fire Extinguishers – If your boat has any enclosed compartments or a false floor, you must carry a Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher. Make sure it is charged and accessible.

c. Boat Lights – Always test your boat lights before the boat leaves the dock and carry extra batteries.

d. Emergency Supplies – Keep on board in a floating pouch: maps, flares, and a first aid kit.

e. Anchor – Make sure you have one and can properly use it. Improper anchoring may cause fatal accidents.

6. Designate an Assistant Skipper: Make sure more than one person on board is familiar with all aspects of your boat’s handling, operations, and other boating safety tips. If the primary navigator is injured or incapacitated in any way, it’s important to make sure someone else can follow the proper boating safety rules to get everyone back to shore.

State Patrol Posts DUI Breath Tests Online

The Washington State Patrol has created an online database of all breath tests given to DUI defendants. You can find the database here.

Go down to the bottom of the page and click “Enter WebDMS.”Then click on “DataMaster search,” and you can browse the records.

It’s not exactly a breeze to search, however. You must know the “DataMaster” code — basically the location of the DUI breath machine — if you want to look up DUI results in a given period. But here’s one that I know: 140051. That’s the DataMaster machine in the Kitsap County jail.

The operator is the officer that made the DUI arrest. If you scroll to the right, “BrAC1” and “BrAC2” are the results of the two tests. Just plop a decimal point in front of the numbers (e.g. 123 becomes .123) and there you have it.

You cannot see defendant’s names here, only dates of birth.

Law Enforcement out in Force for ‘1,000 Stars’ Night

It could be a rough night for the state’s drunken drivers.

The annual “Night of 1,000 Stars” — with stars being the number of badges on patrol around the state — occurs tonight. Officers will be focusing on intoxicated and aggressive drivers.

Law enforcement agencies in Kitsap County will be out from 7 p.m. until 3 a.m., according to Kitsap County MADD Chair Marsha Masters. They’ll start with a briefing at Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue’s Station 41, on Old Military Road at Fairgrounds Road.

The Navy’s ‘0-0-1-3 Alcohol Use Philosophy’


We got a tip last week in the newsroom that the U.S. Navy, in some way, shape or form, was implementing some sort of new drinking policy for its service members.

Vague, yes. So in an effort to get to the bottom of the story, Ed Friedrich, our military and transportation reporter, made some calls to local public affairs officers. None of them had heard of any such “policy,” being implemented.

I revisited the tipster, who said it had something to do with “0-0-1-3.” And then I consulted Google.

Turns out “0-0-1-3” is not relatively new. I found the “Penny Press,” the newsletter of the USS Abraham Lincoln. And in its March 20, 2009 newsletter — about one month before the Lincoln headed across Puget Sound to Bremerton for maintenance — they talk of this “alcohol use philosophy.”
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What Age Groups Suffer Most from Drunken Driving

Which age range bears by far the largest amount of casualties at the hands of drunken drivers in Washington?

The answer is those who are in their twenties, who account for almost a third of such crashes, according to the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System. In Washington, 79 people in that age range died on average each year between 2001 and 2007. (The overall average of those killed per year was 244.)

The next closest range was those in their thirties, with an average of 45, followed by those 15 to 20 years old, with an average of 40.

The numbers drop off considerably for those in their forties and fifties, with averages of 38 and 21, respectively.

Special thanks to Marsha Masters of MADD for providing this sobering data.