Week after week it seems, we read about violent acts in the region fueled by alcohol abuse.
Beatings, bar fights, street assaults, domestic attacks — many involving serious injuries or death. The toll is far higher when crashes involving drinking and driving are included.
Many of these incidents, law enforcement officials say, occur after perpetrators spend hours drinking at bars.
Statistics compiled by police indicate that a very high percentage of the incidents occur in the early morning hours.
Aware of these facts, Warren County and Saratoga County officials have proposed in recent years for bars to stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m. instead of the state limit, which is 4 a.m.
Most recently — after a brutal beating outside a bar in Glens Falls — city 5th Ward Supervisor William Kenny spearheaded a new effort to shorten the nighttime hours in Warren County taverns, citing some alarming crime statistics.
Noting that incidents of violent crime soar past 1 a.m. or so, he has often said that “nothing good” occurs after 2 a.m. — and we agree. Apparently so do leaders of other counties across the state. Thirty-six counties have closing times earlier than 4 a.m.
At a recent hearing of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, about a half-dozen bar owners objected to the two-hour change, claiming that the late-night violence stemmed from lack of effective law enforcement, or was due to the misbehavior of merely a few of their clientele, and that an earlier last-call wouldn’t solve the problem.
They argued their revenue would suffer, and that bar patrons would choose to spend their time reveling in other counties, decreasing Warren County’s sales tax revenue. Worse yet, they said patrons were likely to drive drunk many miles after closing time, to a neighboring county to find a bar still open.