Alcoholism & Addiction

Alcohol Sale Sites Impact Rates of Violence

Is there a correlation between violence and the number of alcohol sales sites? According to two Indiana University professors, this correlation not only exists, the highest assault rates are associated with carry-out sites selling alcohol for consumption off-site. These findings were presented in a recent Science Daily release.

Department of Criminal Justice professor William Alex Pridemore and Department of Geography professor Tony Grubesic used crime statistics and alcohol outlet licensing data from Cincinnati, Ohio, to examine the spatial relationship between alcohol outlet density and assault density.

According to research findings, off-premise outlets appear to be responsible for about one in four simple assaults and one in three aggravated assaults

"A higher density of alcohol sales outlets in an area means closer proximity and easier availability to an intoxicating substance for residents," Pridemore said, in Science Daily.

"Perhaps just as importantly, alcohol outlets provide a greater number of potentially deviant places. Convenience stores licensed to sell alcohol may be especially troublesome in this regard, as they often serve not only as sources of alcohol but also as local gathering places with little formal social control."

Through the use of spatial regression models, the researchers determined that adding one off-premise alcohol sales site per square mile would create 2.3 more simple assaults and 0.6 more aggravated assaults per square mile. Violence associated with restaurants and bars was found to drive up violence as adding one restaurant would result in 1.15 more simple assaults and adding one bar would result in 1.35 more simple assaults.

"We believe that alcohol outlets, as a source of community-level variation in levels of interpersonal violence, deserve greater attention in the criminological literature," Pridemore said. "The nature of our findings should encourage further investigation of the nature of the ecological association between alcohol, violence and other negative outcomes within communities."

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