West End Alcohol Impact Area Compliance Could Become Mandatory

The possiblity of creating a mandatory Alcohol Impact Area for Tacoma's West End neighborhood will be a topic of discussion at this afternoon's meeting of the City Council Public Safety, Human Services, and Education Committee. This would give the City a bigger stick with which to discourage the sale of beverages like larger cans and bottles of malt liquor

In February of 2013 the City Council passed a resolution creating a temporary, voluntary Alcohol Impact Area in the west end, following a significant increase in alcohol-related calls for service (a four-fold increase in calls since the creation of the Lincoln AIA on the east side). The voluntary AIA was to last for a trial period from September 1, 2013 through February 28, 2014.

During that trial period, retail stores in the area were asked to remove certain types of alcohol from their shelves during designated hours, and were monitored for compliance. Compliance varied from an initial rate of 17%, to a high of 49% in December, before dropping to 38.5% at the end of the trial period. That 38.5% compliance rate represents 15 out of 39 stores that removed banned products of more than 19 ounces, and restrict single package sales of the cheap and potent booze. Over the course of the trial period, calls for service for alcohol-related incidents did not significantly decrease, according to Tacoma Police.

Tacoma's two existing mandatory Alcohol Impact Areas - Downtown Core and Lincoln - have proven effective at decreasing the number of alcohol-related incidents reported to the police. Now TPD is requesting that the West End AlA be made mandatory as well.

The addition of the West End AIA would mean that more than half of Tacoma would be covered by AIAs - it's starting to look like we might want to consider a comprehensive solution, rather than a district-by-district effort. Is a city-wide AIA the answer? Is there a better solution?

The PSHSE Committee meets this afternoon at 4:30.

Previously from Exit133: Alcohol Impact Area Proposed for Tacoma's West End.

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