A new Australian study concludes that violence rose in Melbourne communities as the density of alcohol outlets increased, Medical News Today reported.
“The study found that, across Melbourne, the three types of outlets examined — hotel pubs, bars, and packaged bottle shops — all had positive relationships to assault rates,” said study author Michael Livingston of the Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre.
“In other words, increasing the density of these outlets in a suburb leads to increasing rates of violence in that suburb.
When these relationships were explored for specific types of suburbs, it was found that hotels and bars were the biggest drivers of violence in inner-city areas and packaged liquor outlets were more important in suburban areas.”
Every new hotel pub or on-premises liquor license issued in inner-city communities equated to an extra two nighttime assaults each year, the study found. ”
The results of this study don’t really point to particular communities being more at risk than others,” Livingston said. “Instead they suggest that different types of outlets are problematic in different areas.”
Livingston’s study focused on the period 1996 to 2005. “The literature shows that suburbs with more alcohol outlets experience more violence, but only a handful of papers have explored what happens within a suburb as outlet density changes,” he said.
The research will be published in the June 2008 issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.