Alcohol and crime the unspoken truth and the practical policy solutions for prevention
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Alcohol and crime: the unspoken truth and the practical policy solutions for prevention. Robert Nash Parker University of California. Alcohol and Violence: the unspoken yet well known truth. Violence is caused in part by alcohol Alcohol makes violence worse than it might be otherwise

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Alcohol and crime: the unspoken truth and the practical policy solutions for prevention

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Alcohol and crime: the unspoken truth and the practical policy solutions for prevention

Robert Nash Parker

University of California


Alcohol and Violence: the unspoken yet well known truth

  • Violence is caused in part by alcohol

  • Alcohol makes violence worse than it might be otherwise

  • Alcohol control and regulation can be used to prevent Violence


The practical and the possible

  • Research from “Alcohol and Violence: The nature of the relationship and the Possibility of Prevention”

  • Look for this new book in 2010

  • Preview of several chapters today

  • A look at some new research on alcohol and assault in Canada


Minimum Drinking Age

  • US has a uniform 21 age minimum age of legal purchase

  • In the 1970s, many US states had younger ages

  • Late 1970s to mid 1980s, all states were encouraged (forced) to adopt 21

  • What was the impact on violence?


Increasing the minimum age of purchase and youth homicide

  • Data for 49 states and DC, 1972-1993

    • Before and after critical period 1979-1984

    • First state enacted 21 (Minnesota); US Federal Government essentially forces 21 uniformity

    • Broad consideration of predictors including:

      • Taxes on Beer

      • Increases in minimum age

      • Prices of alcohol


Increasing the minimum age of purchase and youth homicide

  • Results indicate:

    • Minimum age increase prior to 1984 decrease youth homicide

    • The Higher beer taxes, the lower youth homicide

    • Despite rising youth homicide rates during the 1972-1993 period, evidence that alcohol policy can reduce youth violence


Availability of alcohol and youth violence

  • Although alcohol is not supposed to be available to those under 21, youth are able to obtain with reliability in many communities

  • Studies in US show that 55% to 80% of the time, youth are able to buy alcohol directly in retail establishments

  • What would happen to youth violence if alcohol availability went down?


Availability of Alcohol and youth violence

  • Three year study 1993-1995 in Small Northern California Community

  • In the second year of the study, City decided to remove alcohol outlets in 6 neighborhoods (out of 35; 12 outlets closed)

  • Youth violence measured from police data for offenders and victims, 12-24


Availability of Alcohol and youth Violence

  • Natural experiment:

    • Net of other factors, the places where availability was reduced had significantly lower rates of youth violence

    • Causal effect powerfully demonstrated


Availability, Enforcement, and youth gang activity

  • Minimum Age of purchase is also about enforcement as well as setting minimum age and availability

  • Is enforcement a useful tool for prevention of youth violence?

  • Tested the idea with gang violence, a most difficult target for policy intervention


Availability, Enforcement, and youth gang activity

  • Using Pseudo-Under age buyer sting

    • 21 years olds who look young

    • Attempt to buy after an intervention

  • Findings:

    • Only 24% successful

    • Neighborhoods with more successful buys had higher gang violence net of other predictors

  • Unspoken Truth:

    • Enforcement of minimum purchase laws reduces violence


Alcohol Advertising and a specific type of youth violence

  • Similar study in another Northern California Community

    • Why would the industry spend so much money on advertising if the only impact was to get adults to switch brands?

    • Unspoken truth that everyone knows:

      • They would not!


Alcohol Advertising and a Specific Type of Youth Violence

  • Measured the content of advertising in local retail outlets with trained observers

    • Among the most common content:

      • Sexually explicit, commodifying, and exploitative ads featuring women in provocative and near pornographic poses

    • We measured assault and sexual assault, overall advertising and sexually explicit advertising rates


FIGURE 11


FIGURE 12


FIGURE 10


Alcohol Advertising and a specific type of youth violence

  • Findings:

    • Controlling for relevant factors:

      • Advertising in general did not impact assault or sexual assault

      • Sexually explicit advertising raised the rate of sexual assault, but not other assaults

      • These findings were net of overall outlet density; they were also ethnic specific

      • More ads with Latina models, more Latina girls were sexually assaulted


Unintended truths: Alcohol prevention impacts violence

  • Community Trials Study

    • Conducted by the Prevention Research Center, Berkeley (PIRE)

    • Led by Harold Holder, one of the world’s leading experts on Alcohol and Prevention

    • Designed to impact drunk driving, pedestrian accidents, falls, burns, fires, etc: everything but violence

    • Question: Did these multi faceted and coordinated interventions impact violence?


Unintended Truths: Alcohol Prevention Impacts violence

  • Time series analyses of all three experimental sites showed that:

    • The timing of a number of different types of interventions led to lower violent crime rates 1 to 3 months later

    • The volume of interventions reduced violent crime 2 to 3 months later


Alcohol and Assault: the Canadian Truth

  • New study: International Project on Alcohol and Assault

    • Purpose is to assemble a massive set of evidence from 20, 30 or more countries, cities, provinces, using time series methods

    • To prove beyond a shadow of doubt that alcohol causes assault

    • Use these results to convince governments at all levels to pursue alcohol control and regulation as a means to lower numbers and costs of violent crime


Alcohol and Assault: the Canadian Truth

  • Time Series analysis shows a lagged causal relationship between Assaults and Spirits consumption, between 1950 and 1999

  • Similar to results from Republic of Ireland and the United States

  • Assault impacts more than 200,000 Canadians (2007) a year


Alcohol and Violence: The Spoken Truth

  • Alcohol related violence can be prevented

  • Existing regulations on Alcohol can be used to achieve substantial reductions

  • Many of the interventions discussed here can be achieved with little or no expenditure of funds

  • Why would Anyone be Opposed to this?


More about Alcohol and violence: Policy, research, reading

  • International Sociological Association Research Committee 29

    • World Congress of Sociology Gothenberg, Sweden, July 2010

    • Deadline December 1, 2009 Abstracts

    • URL: http://www.isa-sociology.org/congress2010/rc/rc29.htm


More about Alcohol and violence: Policy, research, reading

  • Meeting on Alcohol and Violence in Melbourne, Australia, March 2010

    • Sponsored by the Kettil Bruun Society

    • Hosted by Robin Room and Turning Point

    • November 1, 2009 deadline extended for Abstracts

    • URL:http://www.kettilbruun.org/Violence_Melb.htm


More about Alcohol and violence: Policy, research, reading

  • Alcohol Policy 15

    • Washington DC, December 2010

    • Email Tom Colthurst: tomc@silvergategroup.com

    • URL: http://www.silvergategroup.com/ap15/index.htm


Finally:

  • Look for a new book on alcohol and violence in 2010

    • Alcohol and Violence: The Nature of the Relationship and the Promise of Prevention

    • Robert Nash Parker

    • Email me, robnp@aol.com, for more information


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