Using our mobile app? Be sure to check for any new app updates to receive any enhancements.

Get Healthy!

In One Baltimore Neighborhood, Curbing Liquor Sales Hours Slashed Crime Rates
  • Posted April 3, 2024

In One Baltimore Neighborhood, Curbing Liquor Sales Hours Slashed Crime Rates

Cutting back on late-night alcohol sales might help curb crime in violence-ridden neighborhoods, a new report claims.

Murders dropped by half (51%) within a month after one Baltimore neighborhood limited alcohol hours of sale for bars and taverns, researchers report April 1 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Further, violent crimes declined in the surrounding area by 23% following the sales restriction, compared to similar neighborhoods with no change in hours of sale, researchers said.

“While we expected to see some change, the size of the drop in crime was even more significant than we expected,” said lead researcher Erika Rosen, a postdoctoral fellow with the Alcohol Research Group of Emeryville, Calif.

For the study, researchers evaluated the impact of a law passed by the Maryland legislature in 2020 that limited the sale for alcohol from 20 hours to 13 hours each day in a specific part of Baltimore.

The law cut alcohol sales back to 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., where previously they had been allowed from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.

The research team looked at violent crimes that occurred within 800 feet of 26 bars and taverns in a single Baltimore neighborhood between May 2018 and December 2022.

They specifically focused on crimes occurring between 8 p.m. and 4 p.m., because those are the times most likely to be associated with alcohol use.

They then compared crimes in that neighborhood to crimes happening near 41 other bars and taverns with unchanged hours of operation in similar Baltimore neighborhoods.

Violent crimes like murder, robber, aggravated assault and rape all declined in that Baltimore neighborhood compared to others, results showed.

And the decline was sustained over time. Murder rates decreased by 40% each subsequent year following the restriction on alcohol sales, researchers said.

“Changing the hours of service and sale of alcohol is a relatively simple intervention,” said researcher David Jernigan, a professor of health law, policy & management at the Boston University School of Public Health.

“Yet our findings suggest that, even in a period like the COVID-19 pandemic when alcohol consumption was rising, this policy has great promise for other cities and neighborhoods seeking to prevent and reduce crime,” he added in a university news release.

The findings support recommendations by the World Health Organization to reduce the availability of alcoholic beverages, as well as increasing their taxation and banning their marketing, researchers concluded.

More information

American Addiction Centers has more on violence and alcohol use.

SOURCE: Boston University School of Public Health, news release, April 1, 2024

Health News is provided as a service to The Medicine Shoppe | Shawneetown site users by HealthDay. The Medicine Shoppe | Shawneetown nor its employees, agents, or contractors, review, control, or take responsibility for the content of these articles. Please seek medical advice directly from your pharmacist or physician.
Copyright © 2024 HealthDay All Rights Reserved.