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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Is the Density of Alcohol Establishments Related to Nonviolent Crime?

We examined the associations between the density of alcohol establishments and five types of nonviolent crime across urban neighborhoods.

Data from the city of Minneapolis, MN, in 2009 were aggregated and analyzed at the neighborhood level. We examined the association between alcohol establishment density and five categories of nonviolent crime: vandalism, nuisance crime, public alcohol consumption, driving while intoxicated, and underage alcohol possession/consumption. A Bayesian approach was used for model estimation accounting for spatial auto-correlation and controlling for relevant neighborhood demographics. Models were estimated for total alcohol establishment density and then separately for off-premise establishments (e.g., liquor and convenience stores) and on-premise establishments (e.g., bars and restaurants).

We found positive associations between density and each crime category. The association was strongest for public consumption and weakest for vandalism. We estimated that a 3.3%–10.9% increase across crime categories would result from a 20% increase in neighborhood establishment density. Similar results were seen for on- and off-premise establishments, although the strength of the associations was lower for off-premise density.

Our results indicate that communities should consider the potential increase in nonviolent crime associated with an increase in the number of alcohol establishments within neighborhoods.

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