Spoiling it for everyone: Open Container Arrests in Ward 2 have dropped dramatically

The top 5 causes of Adult Arrests in Ward 2, from 2005 to March 2009

The top 5 causes of Adult Arrests Citywide, from 2005 to March 2009

In December, we bitched and moaned about the possibility that the Metropolitan Police Department had unduly increased its Possession of Open Container Arrests (POCAs) in the Second District, where Georgetown and George Washington University are located. And hey, who’s to say it wasn’t a Mark Carter crackdown?: POCAs were the only type of arrests that burgeoned in the months for which there was data (except for prostitution arrests. What??).

But despite our arch implications that some sort of conspiracy against students prompted these arrests, MPD seems less likely than ever before to come after you for your wide-mouthed Keystone: though POCAs were the fifth most common type of arrest for Ward 2 residents, 2008 saw the lowest number of POCAs for all the four years that data was available.

Those numbers are 727 POCAs for 2005, 531 for 2006, 357 for 2007, and 295 for 2008. They’re graphed (but not labeled—thanks OCTO!) above in purple.

While a glance at the chart reveals that the number of most types of arrests in Ward 2 fell overall in the past four years, POCAs were the type of arrests which saw the greatest decline: POCAs fell by 59 percent from 2004 to 2008, while “Other Misdemeanor Offenses” arrests fell 47.5 percent, “No Permit” arrests fell 42 percent, and Traffic Offence arrests fell 38 percent in the same time period. Assault arrests rose.

POCAs fell Citywide too (purple, the bottom chart), but Ward 2’s rate of decline far outstrips the City’s. While the number of POCA arrests declined by 27 percent from 2005 to 2006, 33 percent from 2006 and 2007, and 17 percent from 2007 to 2008 in Ward 2, they fell by only 8 percent, 22 percent, and 1 percent Citywide between those respective years.

In fact, only Ward 4 experienced a decline in POCAs from 2004 to 2008 greater than Ward 2’s—Ward 4’s POCA rate saw a 70 percent decline from 2004 to 2008 and in 2008, had the lowest number of POCAs—202—of any Ward for which POCAs were one of the top five causes of arrest (Ward 3 residents are too busy getting arrested for “Jostling”).

So are Ward 2 residents behaving better, or drinking on their stoops and getting away with it? While I’d love to think that we’ve collectively discovered the backyard, I’ve got trash, a host of Philly P complaints, and above all, a roomful of angry neighbors that suggests otherwise, (not to mention implicates students). Thoughts?

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