Philadelphia, United States: Study shows the more alcohol outlets, the higher the number of violence cases…

Philadelphia, United States: Study shows the more alcohol outlets, the higher the number of violence cases

Philadelphia is the 5th biggest city in the United States with more than 1.5 million inhabitants. Alcohol-related harm has long been a problem.

A new study now links alcohol availability in the city with increases in violence.

The study shows that neighborhoods with the highest rates of poverty and the most violence also have the most stores where alcohol can be bought and carried out.

Led by the Urban Health Collaborative of Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health — in partnership with the City of Philadelphia — the study looked into the density of these “off-premise alcohol outlets” in light of this summer’s expansion of state law to allow wine and more beer to be available in grocery stores.

[A]lcohol availability is linked to a host of serious health problems,” said Amy Auchincloss, PhD, associate professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health.

Study design

The researchers looked at data for Philadelphia from early 2016 to get a snapshot alcohol outlet density before the expansion resulting from further privatization kicked in.

Key findings

City-wide, the average density was 2.2 alcohol outlets per square mile, which is much lower than in many other cities. But even with fairly low density, it was evident that outlets were more prevalent in the poorest neighborhoods and neighborhoods with higher percentages of black or Hispanic residents.

In poorer neighborhoods, there is a much higher burden of violent incidents, according to the findings. For example, in 2015 in Philadelphia, per 10,000 residents, there were 130 violent incidents in the neighborhoods with the least poverty compared to 400 in the highest poverty neighborhoods.

Alcohol outlets and violence

The study that alcohol outlets density plays a key role. The researchers found more violent incidents where there were more alcohol outlets.

This was observed even in Philadelphia’s socio-economically most advantaged neighborhoods (less than 7% of the population live below the federal poverty line) where violent incidents per 10,000 inhabitants averaged 111 in areas with the fewest alcohol outlets, but that number increased to 168 in areas with at least six outlets per square mile (51% higher).

Source Website: Drexel University