Juvenile drinking cases increase in 2009 | SteamboatToday.com

Juvenile drinking cases increase in 2009

Police Department statistics show small decreases in most types of crimes

Zach Fridell

Crime statistics report for 2009

— The two largest law enforcement agencies in Routt County were called out more than 10,000 times in 2009, resulting in hundreds of arrests and many more warnings.

According to statistics from the Steamboat Springs Police Department and Routt County Sheriff's Office, police were called to 9,507 calls in 2009, and deputies were called to service 891 times.

The number of calls was similar to 2008 for the Police Department. The Sheriff's Office was unable to provide numbers for 2008 as a comparison.

The biggest change in the number of criminal offenses recorded by the police came from underage drinkers. In 2008, there were 174 citations for minor in possession or minor in consumption. That number jumped to 261 in 2009.

"I suspect that we're just seeing more activity in that area," Capt. Bob DelValle said. "It might be somewhat indicative of the alcohol-related activities from young folks who are underage."

The Police Department also issued seven Social Host OrdinĀ­ance violations in the latter part of 2009. The Steamboat Springs City Council passed the ordinance May 6 in an effort to punish adults who knowingly provide a place for minors to drink alcohol. The Police Department first used the ordinance in mid-October.

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The county does not have a comparable ordinance and did not report the number of MIP and MIC citations issued in 2009. Evidence technician MelĀ­lisa Baumgartner said the office typically has not kept statistics and does not have personnel to make reports of historical data.

The number of cases reported in almost all areas decreased for police, including a significant decrease in burglary and damaged property. In 2008, there were 104 cases of burglary, and there were 63 in 2009. The number of burglaries in 2008 was significantly higher than other years, however, with only 57 reported in 2007. According to statistics from the Police Department, the average range is 46 to 92 burglaries per year in the past four years. Damaged property cases dropped from 240 in 2008 to 162 in 2009.

The number of assaults dropped from 139 to 100; drug violations from 170 to 159; larceny/theft from 367 to 322; and driving under the influence violations from 208 to 194. Fraud cases did increase, from 87 in 2008 to 101 in 2009, as did alcohol-related cases, from 1,057 to 1,122.

The two offices reported a combined 1,387 arrests, but for record-keeping purposes, the arrests included any time a person was not free to leave from an encounter with a law enforcement agent, including times when officers or deputies issued tickets, citations and summonses. DelValle said a quick look at the number showed that there were about 800 "custodial arrests" from the Police Department that ended with someone in jail.

The 14th Judicial District Attorney's office in Routt County saw 207 criminal cases filed in 2009, an increase from the 184 filed in 2008. Of those 207 cases, three resulted in jury trials.