Liquor store density linked to homicides

Sept. 10, 2011 at 12:36 AM
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RIVERSIDE, Calif., Sept. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say violent crime would drop if local ordinances limited the number of neighborhood liquor stores and ban single-serve containers of alcohol.

Sociology professors Robert N. Parker and Kirk R. Williams, co-directors of the Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies at University of California, Riverside, and colleagues say in one study, alcohol availability and youth homicide in 91 of the largest U.S. cities was examined from 1984 to 2006.

The study found a correlation between the density of alcohol outlets and violent crime rates among teens and young adults ages 13 to 24.

The second study examined crime rates and cooler space allocated to containers sold individually in San Bernardino, Calif. Study authors Parker, Kevin McCaffree of the University of California, Riverside, and Daniel Skiles of the Institute for Public Strategies in San Bernardino, found higher rates of violent crime in neighborhoods around alcohol outlets that allot more than 10 percent of cooler space for single-serve containers.

"These results suggest that alcohol control can be an important tool in violence prevention," Parker says in a statement. "Policies designed to reduce outlet density can provide relief from violence in and around these neighborhood outlets. And banning or reducing the sales of single-serve, ready-to-consume containers of alcohol can have an additional impact on preventing violence."

The findings are published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review.

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