Beer sales: It’s working; don’t change it

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 18, 2009

The numbers don’t lie.

Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield and Police Chief Walter Armstrong said they don’t believe that increased hours for beer sales are related to an increase in crime. That would indicate they don’t believe statistics from the nation’s pre-eminent law enforcement agency, the FBI, showing that violent crimes in the city are down by a bit more than 50 percent in 2009 from the same period in 2008, the dividing line being when the city limited the hours of beer sales and single-beer sales.

In 2008, during the Laurence Leyens administration, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to limit hours and sales. Now Winfield is saying it’s not affecting crime and that, instead, the only result is a fall in sales tax collected in the city.

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Again, the numbers do not stand up. In a time of economic recession across the United States — including many a city and state that allows 24-hour beer sales — sales taxes have fallen.

Everyone wants crime numbers to fall — residents, tourists, businesses, schools, even law enforcement officers; and, truly, no one can say for sure that the limitations on beer are directly responsible for the decrease in crime, but why fix it if it’s not broken?

Again, the numbers don’t lie.