USA: Reducing Alcohol Availability, Reduces Violence
A new study has found that reducing alcohol availability, reduces violence in Baltimore, USA.
Alcohol zoning regulations have life or death consequences in Baltimore, MD. Previous research has found that 50% violent crime is related to alcohol. A new study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found reducing alcohol outlet density can save lives and reduce economic cost of alcohol in the city.
There is an ongoing violence epidemic in Baltimore, with recent years breaking records for number of homicides,” said the authors of the study, as per US News.
This study suggests that there is potential to prevent violent crimes by reducing alcohol outlet density in Baltimore City.”
The study used a computer model to assess how three proposed alcohol-related zoning changes in Baltimore would affect homicide rates.
The three proposals were:
- Reduce by 20% all outlets that sell alcohol;
- Close liquor stores in residential areas; and
- Close places that are licensed as bars or taverns but actually operate as liquor stores.
After accounting for confounders the results showed:
- An overall reduction of alcohol outlets by 20% would cut cases of murders by 51 a year and save $63.7 million.
- Closing liquor stores in residential areas would prevent 22 homicides a year, saving $27.5 million.
- Closing licensed bars and taverns – which are open for longer hours than liquor stores – would lead to one less murder a year, saving $1.2 million.
The researchers suggest the second proposition of closing liquor stores in residential areas is the most practical to implement. This would lead to closing of about 1 in 15 liquor stores. A 20% reduction would be the best to reduce homicides, but a large number of stores would have to be closed to achieve this goal making it less feasible.
Alcohol outlets tend to cluster in low-income and minority neighborhoods, and alcohol outlet density zoning would ideally aim to reduce the concentration of outlets in these neighborhoods,” said the authors of the study in a press release, according to US News.