Newswise — Previous research has shown that violent crimes are associated with greater access to alcohol outlets. It is unclear, however, whether on-premise outlets such as bars, or off-premise outlets such as liquor stores, have a stronger association with violent crimes. This study used more precise measurement of outlet locations to examine associations between violent crimes and access to different types of alcohol outlets in Baltimore, Maryland.

The researchers collected data on 1,204 alcohol outlets: 519 (43%) on-premise outlets, 264 (22%) off-premise outlets, and 421 (35%) outlets allowed to sell alcohol on-premise or packaged alcohol for off-premise drinking (this license is called “LBD-7”). Additional data in their analyses included the numberof violent crimes from 2012 to 2016 (n=51,006), and social markers such as owner-occupied housing, median annual household income, drug arrests, and population density.

Access to alcohol outlets that allow for off-site drinking, such as liquor stores, had a greater association with violent crimes than outlets that permit only on-site drinking, such as bars. The researchers noted that off-premise and LBD-7 outlets tend to lead to drinking that is difficult for a manager of any kind to regulate, while on-premise outlets often have several types of staff whocan manage the environment, regulate patrons’ drinking, monitor IDs, and even prevent potential offenders from entering the premises in the first place. They recommended that tighter regulation of outlets that sell alcohol for off-site consumption would be the most cost-effective and sustainable method for crime prevention.

Journal Link: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research