Investigating the Impact of Alcohol Outlet Density on Crime Rates

Natalia Sypion
European Research Studies Journal, Volume XXVI, Issue 4, 605-614, 2023
DOI: 10.35808/ersj/3311


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore and understand the relationship between the alcohol outlets in different neighborhoods and the corresponding crime rates in those areas regarding the following aspects: the density of alcohol outlets; differences in the types of crimes associated with on-premise versus off-premise alcohol outlets; socio-economic and neighborhood characteristics; spatial patterns of crime distribution change in relation to the proximity of alcohol outlets. Design/Methodology/Approach: This paper employs a multi-disciplinary approach, combining extensive literature review. The study outlines the systematic and multifaceted methods employed to investigate the relationship between occurrence of alcohol outlets in a neighborhood and crime rates. The approach integrates various research methodologies and theoretical frameworks to provide a comprehensive analysis. The study incorporates several theoretical perspectives, including Routine Activity Theory, Environmental Criminology, Social Disorganization Theory, and Broken Windows Theory. Findings: The study finds a significant positive correlation between the density of alcohol outlets and the rate of crimes in those areas. This correlation is more pronounced in areas with a higher density of off-premise alcohol outlets, such as liquor stores, compared to on-premise outlets like bars and restaurants. There is a notable difference in the impact of on-premise and off-premise alcohol outlets on crime rates. Off-premise outlets are more strongly correlated with certain types of crimes, particularly those involving violence and property damage. The relationship between alcohol outlet density and crime rates is found to be moderated by socio-economic and neighborhood factors. Areas with higher levels of socio-economic deprivation show a stronger correlation between alcohol outlet density and crime rates, suggesting that socio-economic factors play a significant role in this relationship. The spatial analysis reveals distinct patterns in the distribution of crime relative to the location of alcohol outlets. Crime rates are higher in areas immediately surrounding alcohol outlets, with a gradual decrease in crime incidences as the distance from these outlets increases. The findings support the principles of the theoretical frameworks used in the study. For instance, Routine Activity Theory and Environmental Criminology are validated through the observed correlations, indicating that alcohol outlets might serve as facilitators or attractors for criminal activities. Practical Implications: The results of the study have significant implications for urban planning and policy-making. They suggest that regulating the density and location of alcohol outlets could be an effective strategy for reducing crime rates, particularly in socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Originality/Value: The study's originality lies in its comprehensive integration of varied theoretical frameworks. This multidisciplinary approach not only enriches the understanding of how the occurrence of alcohol outlet impacts crime rates but also bridges gaps between different theoretical perspectives in urban studies and criminology.

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