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DUI crashes down, arrests up in Burbank

More than 250 drivers have been arrested so far this year on DUI-related charges.

July 16, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

The number of alcohol and drug-related traffic collisions in Burbank has dropped 35% since last year, but police have logged 22% more DUI arrests, year-to-date statistics show.

Officials attribute the trend to increased enforcement and public education efforts through sobriety checkpoints and social media.

By the end of June last year, police had arrested 206 individuals for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. That number jumped to 252 for the same period this year, according to Burbank Police Lt. Jay Hawver.

Meanwhile, the number of alcohol- or drug-related accidents dropped from 49 last year to 32 this year for the same period, Hawver said.

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"DUI enforcement is a priority for us," Hawver said. "To take those folks off the road before they hurt anybody, or themselves, is very important."

The last two sobriety checkpoints in Burbank — one last December, the other in June — netted zero arrests despite police screening hundreds of motorists.

The intent of the checkpoints is not just to arrest drunk drivers, but to educate the public, officials said.

"When you contact 1,000 drivers, what percent communicates that contact with other drivers during a casual conversation at work and school — that's part of the effort to inform folks that you can't drink and drive," said Burbank Police Capt. Mike Albanese. "I think it's effective when you look at the number of DUI-related traffic accidents."

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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