Mckinney Courier-gazette > News
McKinney DWI, theft numbers average over Thanksgiving weekend
With family celebrations, related wine and days off work, it's a common assumption drunk driving increases over the holidays.
That may be the case over Christmas and New Year's, but at least in McKinney, such an assumption doesn't always play out over Thanksgiving.
From Wednesday, Nov. 21 through Sunday, Nov. 25, McKinney police made seven driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests and reported three incidents of public intoxication. The exact same numbers occurred the prior week and weekend, Nov. 14-18.
"Thanksgiving Day is usually slower because we have some officers off duty," Deputy Chief Joe Ellenburg said.
The McKinney Police Department reported just five DWI arrests and one public intoxication arrest over the same Thanksgiving weekend time frame last year.
Collin County sheriff's deputies, who patrol rural county areas, made no DWI arrests last weekend over the same time period, said John Norton of the sheriff's office, which holds off on increased patrol until later in the year.
"As Thanksgiving is a relatively quiet holiday, we did not add patrols or do check points," Norton said. "We are certainly more aware of the possibility of DWIs during the Christmas parties and New Year's Eve party times. Generally during those times, the district attorney's office will do a 'no refusal' time period."
During those times, drivers pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving cannot refuse a breathalyzer or blood test to determine their blood alcohol content. A judge is typically on standby to issue immediate warrants for a blood test if a driver refuses the breathalyzer test.
A spike in other crimes sometimes associated with the holidays - robbery, burglary, theft and shoplifting - may also be delayed until December. McKinney police reported 18 thefts and shoplifting cases, two robberies and 11 burglaries from Nov. 21 to Nov. 25, compared with 28 thefts and shoplifting, 12 burglaries and no robberies Nov. 14-18.
What this month has shown, however, is continuation of a shoplifting trend in McKinney - culprits are either choosing the city's Walmart Supercenters to do their deed, or just getting caught there more often. Of 32 shoplifting cases reported between Nov. 10 and Nov. 25, nearly 41 percent were at one of three Walmarts: 2041 N. Redbud Blvd.; 1721 N. Custer Rd.; or 5001 McKinney Ranch Pkwy.
Keeping with the trend from most other weeks, the highest number - eight incidents (25 percent) - was reported at the Walmart off Redbud in east McKinney. Ellenburg said, "We get a frequent amount of calls from there," but suggested that could simply mean the store's on-site loss prevention unit is more efficient than at other stores. Such units watch surveillance around the store and do their best to catch shoplifters in the act, before calling MPD to make an arrest.
Over the same time period, the next highest rate - six incidents (about 19 percent) - was reported at the Dollar General store at 1420 S. McDonald St., another common hot spot for shoplifters. Shoplifting was reported at 11 other locations around the city, however most had just one report.
But theft and shoplifting numbers this Thanksgiving weekend were half of what they were last year. Forty cases - seven for shoplifting - were reported Nov. 21-25, 2011.
Drunk drivers and thieves may still appear more over the holidays, seemingly just not around Thanksgiving.
"Christmas and New Year's is when we do patrols directly targeted at catching drunk drivers," Ellenburg said.