have revealed that increasing number of outlets that serve alcoholic drinks in
the suburbs have played a role in increasing violence in those areas.
studies have confirmed a relationship between alcohol-outlet density and
violence, but few have looked at what happens within a suburb as outlet density
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," said Michael Livingston, a research fellow
at the Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre and the study's sole author.
addition, the study examined whether different types of outlets - hotel pubs,
bars and restaurants, packaged-liquor outlets - had different effects in
specific types of suburbs - inner-city, outer-suburbs, etc. - which is a
question that few studies in this area have examined," he added.
and colleagues gathered and analysed nine years of information, from the years
1996 to 2005, for three groupings of data: three types of alcohol outlets -
general (hotel), on-premise (nightclubs, restaurants and bars), and packaged -
using liquor-licensing records; alcohol-related violence, using police-recorded
night-time assault numbers; and 186 postcodes (the equivalent of zip codes) in
the metropolitan area of Melbourne, corresponding to roughly 85 percent of the
postcodes were further grouped into five clusters, based on socio-demographics.
found that, across Melbourne, the three types of outlets examined - hotel pubs,
bars, and packaged liquor outlets - all had positive relationships to assault
rates," Livingston said.
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," he added.
said that, for inner-city areas, each additional hotel pub or on-premise
license was related to two extra night-time assaults per year - the strongest
link found in the study.
restaurants were strongly associated with violence in inner-suburban areas,
with each extra premise responsible for, on average, an extra 0.5 night-time
assaults per year.
that packaged liquor outlets were the strongest influence on violence rates in
results of this study don't really point to particular communities being more
at risk than others. Instead they suggest that different types of outlets are
problematic in different areas," Livingston said.
recommend that greater attention be paid to outlet density when issuing liquor
longitudinal relationship between outlet density and violence greatly
strengthens the evidence base that density of alcohol outlets in a suburb is a
driver of violence, making liquor licensing and planning regulations legitimate
areas for public-health interventions," said Livingston.
The study will be published in the June issue of
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at