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Law enforcement sees annual uptick in Snowdown-related crime in La Plata County

Sobering statistics point finger at overindulgence of alcohol as main culprit

The epic amounts of alcohol consumed during the weeklong Snowdown celebration trickled down in more ways than one – including 53 arrests in Durango and La Plata County – 18 for driving under the influence.

In keeping with this year’s Shakespearean Snowdown theme, the Durango Police Department prefaced its roundup of crime statistics for the celebration on its Facebook page with a quote from the master.

“I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking. I could well wish courtesy would invent some other custom of entertainment.” - William Shakespeare

The DPD and La Plata County Sheriff’s Office staff said there was a definitive increase in offenses surrounding Snowdown when compared with other weeks.

Durango police responded to a lot of fights and other disturbances “associated with the overconsumption of alcohol,” its post said, noting that too much of the spirits “can fuel some really bad behaviors.”

DPD reported 321 incidents (167 officer-initiated), 24 arrests (two DUIs), 17 citations, and 51 verbal warnings.

“Over-serving and overconsumption of alcohol take us down a dangerous path, often leading to violent behaviors and fatalities,” DPD’s post concluded. “It places us in even greater danger when we don’t address the problem and accept it as ‘part of the fun.’”

Durango Police Chief Bob Brammer spoke to the Herald on Tuesday about the uptick in offenses surrounding Snowdown.

“I think every year we have an issue with that and it’s kind of cultural in Durango,” he said. “I know that we’ve heard this from community members and business owners that sometimes things do get a little rowdy and a little out of control.”

The Durango Police Department has been working with liquor stores as well as restaurants and bars to ensure safe practices when serving alcohol.

“I think this is where we, as a community, really need to take a look at ourselves a little bit and say let’s have a great time and celebrate but let’s do it responsibly,” Brammer said.

The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office recorded 29 arrests, 16 for DUI – the rest for warrants, and one assault and two domestic violence arrests between Friday, Jan. 27, and Sunday, Feb. 5.

Both the assault and the domestic violence arrests were from Snowdown spillover parties, said Sgt. Chris Burke with LPCSO.

“I think Snowdown is a great event,” Burke said. “It’s good for businesses in Durango. We just don’t want folks to mix their drinking with their driving.”


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