Ian Steward in the SST reports:
Rates of serious violent crime double within 900m of a liquor outlet, a new study has found.
And the nationwide study has confirmed that the more liquor stores an area has, the more likely it is to have a higher rate of serious violent crime, regardless of poverty and other factors.
Now I think there is an obvious linkage, as alcohol is a factor in some violent crime.
Study lead author Peter Day said the study ranked the country’s 286 police station areas into five groups (quintiles) according to their rate of serious violent crime.
“The number of alcohol outlets consistently increased with increasing quintiles of serious violent offence rates,” the study said.
A more detailed analysis was performed using census “mesh blocks” where the country was divided into 41,393 small blocks representing about 100 people in each.
Using mapping software researchers were able to work out the median travel distance to a liquor outlet. Areas with the lowest rates of serious violence had to travel a median distance of 4.5km to the nearest off-licence. For the highest rates of serious violence, the median distance to an off-licence was just 1.1km.
Using the mesh block analysis, crime rates were calculated for distances from liquor outlets. On average nationwide the incidence of serious violent crime doubled once you got within 900m of a liquor outlet.
I do wonder though how much of this effect, is just because people are in more dense urban areas. As a comparison, what if you compared violent crime incidence to the distance to the nearest hairdresser? Would you also find there is more violence crime close to hairdressers?
Alac chief executive Gerard Vaughan said the current law did not take into account how many outlets were in an area when granting licences.
“If you want to set up a pub or a restaurant you need to get resource consent and demonstrate you’re a person of good character. There’s no consideration around `does this community need another licence?’,” he said.
The Alcohol Reform Bill will give local authorities the ability to set a local alcohol policy. I can understand the desire not to have a bottle store at every corner. However I hope that restaurants would not be declined on the basis of pre-existing restaurants.
The three spikes with the highest numbers of liquor outlets were Auckland central (447 alcohol licences), Wellington central (423) and Christchurch central (394), all of which had high crime rates.
Again, how much is this due to urban density?Tags: alcohol