The Combined Impact of Higher-Risk on-License Venue Outlet Density and Trading Hours on Serious Assaults in Night-Time Entertainment Precincts
Night-time entertainment precincts (NEPs) are clusters of higher-risk on-licence venues, that pose a significant burden on health and social order services. Outlet density and trading hours are two of the most well researched contributors to alcohol availability within NEPs; increases in outlet density and late-night trading hours within NEPs have been independently associated with increased assaults. This is the first study to examine both factors across cities to predict alcohol-related assaults.
Licensing data were used to investigate the effect of outlet density and trading hours on police recorded serious assaults in nine NEPs (9 cross-sectional units) across Queensland from January 2010 to July 2018 at monthly intervals (102 longitudinal units). Multi-level models were used to determine i) whether precinct-level trading hours moderated the relationship between outlet density and serious assaults; and ii) the impact of outlets closing before 12am, 3am, and 5am on serious assaults.
The positive relationship between outlet density and assaults was stronger in precincts with trading hours ending at 5am compared to 3am (IRR = 1.01, p = 0.03). The amount of venues closing before 12am was associated with reduced numbers of assaults (IRR = 0.97, p = 0.04), while venues closing between 12:01am-3am and 3:01am-5am were associated with increased assaults (IRR = 1.02, p<0.01; IRR = 1.01, p= 0.02).
Late night service of alcohol creates more harm in areas of high outlet density, whereas early closing venues in areas where outlet density is low is associated with reduced number of assaults. This relationship should be taken into account in the development of future alcohol policies.
Research in context
- This study analyzed the relationship between trading hours, outlet density, and serious assault in nightlife settings.
- Findings indicate trading hours and outlet density interact when contributing to the occurrence of serious assault.
- Later service of alcohol contributes to increased assaults in areas of higher outlet density.
- A higher concentration of venues that close after midnight was associated with increased incidents of serious assault.
- A higher concentration of venues that close before midnight was associated with a decrease in serious assault incidents.