Limiting the number of liquor stores in neighborhoods could reduce the rate of youth homicides in those areas, a new study suggests. A second study found higher rates of violent crimes in neighborhoods where liquor stores allot more than 10 percent of cooler space to single-serve alcohol containers, Science Daily reports.
“These results suggest that alcohol control can be an important tool in violence prevention,” Robert N. Parker, of the University of California, Riverside, lead researcher in both studies, said in a news release. “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.”
Both studies are published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review. In the first study, researchers looked at federal crime data for offenders ages 13 to 24, and determined the density of stores that sold wine, beer and liquor in 91 cities in 36 states. They took into account other factors known to contribute to youth homicide rates, such as drugs, poverty, gangs and availability of guns. They found higher densities of liquor stores were associated with higher youth homicide rates.
In the second study, the researchers went to every alcohol outlet in San Bernadino, CA. They counted the number of coolers that contained alcoholic beverages at each location, and the amount of space the store devoted to single-serve containers. They also looked at violent crime statistics and census data for the city. They found violent crime rates were significantly higher in areas that had both higher densities of stores, and retail stores with more cooler space devoted to single-serve alcohol containers.