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Int J Health Geogr. 2011 May 4;10:30. doi: 10.1186/1476-072X-10-30.

Alcohol outlets and clusters of violence.

Author information

1
Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis Laboratory, College of Information Science and Technology, Drexel University, PA 19104, Philadelphia, USA. grubesic@drexel.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Alcohol related violence continues to be a major public health problem in the United States. In particular, there is substantial evidence of an association between alcohol outlets and assault. However, because the specific geographic relationships between alcohol outlets and the distribution of violence remains obscured, it is important to identify the spatial linkages that may exist, enhancing public health efforts to curb both violence and morbidity.

METHODS:

The present study utilizes police-recorded data on simple and aggravated assaults in Cincinnati, Ohio. Addresses of alcohol outlets for Cincinnati, including all bars, alcohol-serving restaurants, and off-premise liquor and convenience stores were obtained from the Ohio Division of Liquor Control and geocoded for analysis. A combination of proximity analysis, spatial cluster detection approaches and a geographic information system were used to identify clusters of alcohol outlets and the distribution of violence around them.

RESULTS:

A brief review of the empirical work relating to alcohol outlet density and violence is provided, noting that the majority of this literature is cross-sectional and ecological in nature, yielding a somewhat haphazard and aggregate view of how outlet type(s) and neighborhood characteristics like social organization and land use are related to assaultive violence. The results of the statistical analysis for Cincinnati suggest that while alcohol outlets are not problematic per se, assaultive violence has a propensity to cluster around agglomerations of alcohol outlets. This spatial relationship varies by distance and is also related to the characteristics of the alcohol outlet agglomeration. Specifically, spatially dense distributions of outlets appear to be more prone to clusters of assaultive violence when compared to agglomerations with a lower density of outlets.

CONCLUSION:

With a more thorough understanding of the spatial relationships between alcohol outlets and the distribution of assaults, policymakers in urban areas can make more informed regulatory decisions regarding alcohol licenses. Further, this research suggests that public health officials and epidemiologists need to develop a better understanding of what actually occurs in and around alcohol outlets, determining what factors (whether outlet, neighborhood, or spatially related) help fuel their relationship with violence and other alcohol-related harm.

PMID:
21542932
PMCID:
PMC3098133
DOI:
10.1186/1476-072X-10-30
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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