Drink

There Were 267 Drunk-Driving Arrests in One N.J. “Dry” Town Last Year

It's not alone. Some of the state's dry towns have equal — or higher — rates of DWI arrests than neighboring "wet" towns.

Photo by Damlanno/iStock.

It’s been 84 years since Prohibition was rolled back in the United States, but remnants of the 18th Amendment (which was repealed by Congress in 1933) still exist to this day with a handful of towns continuing to enforce a ban on alcohol sales within their borders. In New Jersey alone, there are 30 of them.

The majority of the Garden State’s so-called “dry towns” exist in South Jersey: six in Salem County, five in Cumberland County, four in Camden County, three in Cape May and Burlington counties, and one in Atlantic County. Farther north includes two in Ocean County and one each in Mercer, Bergen, Passaic and Somerset counties.

While these laws prohibiting alcohol sales are routinely upheld in the name of safety, in some of these dry towns the rate of arrest for driving while intoxicated (DWI) are equal or higher than neighboring “wet” municipalities.

Here are 10 of New Jersey’s dry towns that record the most DWI arrests in the state, according to NJ.com:

  1. Mantoloking (Ocean County)
    This Shore borough tallied 13 total arrests from July 2016 to June 2017. That’s 19.1 arrests per square mile.
  1. Pemberton Borough (Burlington County)
    There are just 1,400 residents of this South Jersey borough, which jailed 18 DWI offenders last year.
  1. Collingswood (Camden County)
    Collingswood saw a 20 percent increase in drunken driving arrests in 2016, registering 9.5 arrests per square mile.
  1. Haddon Heights (Camden County)
    This Camden County municipality actually experienced a 36 percent drop in DWI arrests from 2015 to 2016. However, they still recorded 21 arrests for the crime last year.
  1. Haddonfield (Camden County)
    Neighboring Haddonfield became a dry town just three years ago. But in 2016, police still pulled over 22 drunk drivers there.
  1. Ocean City (Cape May County)
    Of course “America’s Favorite Family Resort” is famously a dry town. But with seasonal guests and residents having to get their buzz on elsewhere, Ocean City saw 37 DWI arrests last year.
  1. Elk Township (Gloucester County)
    This township, which arrested 42 drunk drivers in 2016, isn’t going to be dry for much longer. It sold its first package store license last year and plans to add a liquor store are underway.
  1. Wildwood Crest (Cape May County)
    This Shore town of 3,200 people experienced a 63 percent increase in DWI cases from 2015 to 2016, documenting 44 arrests last year.
  1. Maurice River Township (Cumberland County)
    State police patrol this township, and troopers filed 54 DWI charges within its borders in 2016. Mayor Patty Gross attributes the arrests to Maurice River Township being a “through-way town.”
  1. Upper Deerfield Township (Cumberland County)
    With a whopping 267 DWI arrests last year, Upper Deerfield is the dry town in New Jersey with the highest number of such cases. The good news is that this figure is down considerably from the year before, when 312 drunk drivers were taken into police custody.