A new study shows that minimum unit pricing (MUP) of alcohol cuts serious crime
Crimes against the person fell by 9% over a decade as authorities in British Columbia, Canada increased alcohol prices by 10%, reports new Canadian research.
Imposing a minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol leads to a dramatic fall in alcohol-related crime, including murders, sexual assaults and driving under the influence of alcohol.
The study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, was led by Professor Tim Stockwell, an international expert in minimum unit pricing, who is the director of the Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia.
“Reductions in crime events associated with minimum alcohol price changes were more substantial and specific to alcohol-related events than the countervailing increases in densities of private liquor stores. The findings lend further support to the application of minimum alcohol prices for public health and safety objectives,” reads the conclusion of the research article.
When the alcohol price was increased by 10% over nine years – as done in British Columbia – evidence shows that crimes perpetrated against people, including violent assaults, fell by 9.17%. Alcohol-related road traffic offences, such as killing or injuring someone with a vehicle and refusing to take a breath test, fell even more – by 18.8% – the study found.
The findings are the latest evidence that introducing a minimum unit price yields substantial benefits. Previous studies have already shown that MUP cuts alcohol-related hospital admissions, saves lives and reduces alcohol consumption.
For further reading:
Stockwell, T., et. al. Relationships Between Minimum Alcohol Pricing and Crime During the Partial Privatization of a Canadian Government Alcohol Monopoly, in: Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 76(4), 628–634 (2015).