The geography of violence, alcohol outlets, and drug arrests in Boston.Am J Public Health. 2013 Apr; 103(4):657-64.AJ
We examined the relationship between alcohol outlets, drug markets (approximated by arrests for possession and trafficking), and violence in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2006. We analyzed geographic and environmental versus individual factors related to violence and identified areas high in violent crime.
We used data from the Boston Police Department, US Census, and Massachusetts State Alcohol Beverage Control Commission. Spatial modeling was employed at the block group level, and violent crime, alcohol outlets, and drug markets were mapped.
Relative to other block groups, block groups in the highest decile of violent crime (n = 55) were found to be poorer (e.g., lower incomes, higher percentages of vacant homes), and they had greater numbers of alcohol outlets and higher drug arrest rates. Alcohol outlets and drug possession and trafficking arrests were predictive of violent crime. Also, spatial effects resulting from neighboring block groups were related to violent crime. Both alcohol outlet density and type were associated with violent crime in a differentiated and complex way.
With drug possession and trafficking arrests as a proxy for drug markets, spatial relationships between alcohol outlets and violence were found in addition to typical sociodemographic predictors.