While there are overwhelming data supporting the association between alcohol outlet density and violent crime, there remain conflicting findings about whether on- or off-premise outlets have a stronger association. This inconsistency may be in part a result of the methods used to calculate alcohol outlet density and violent crime. This analysis uses routine activity theory and spatial access methods to study the association between access to alcohol outlets and violent crime, including type of outlet and type of crime in Baltimore, MD.
The data in this analysis include alcohol outlets from 2016 (n = 1,204), violent crimes from 2012 to 2016 (n = 51,006), and markers of social disorganization, including owner-occupied housing, median annual household income, drug arrests, and population density. The analysis used linear regression to determine the association between access to alcohol outlets and violent crime exposure.
Each 10% increase in alcohol outlet access was associated with a 4.2% increase in violent crime exposure (β = 0.43, 95% CI 0.33, 0.52, p < 0.001). A 10% increase in access to off-premise outlets (4.4%, β = 0.45, 95% CI 0.33, 0.57, p < 0.001) and LBD-7 outlets (combined off- and on-premise outlets; 4.2%, β = 0.43, 95% CI 0.33, 0.52, p < 0.001) had a greater association with violent crime than on-premise outlets (3.0%, β = 0.31, 95% CI 0.20, 0.41, p < 0.001).
Access to outlets that allow for off-site consumption had a greater association with violent crime than outlets that only permit on-site consumption. The lack of effective measures to keep order in and around off-premise outlets could attract or multiply violent crime.