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Alcohol Outlet Densities, Crime, and Population Restrictions on Alcohol Licenses

Author: RICHARD SCHWESTER
Published in PAM, Vol. 15 No. 2

The purpose of this paper is to estimate the effects of the per capita number of on-premise and off-premise alcohol outlets on the rates of violent, non-violent, and total crime throughout 506 New Jersey municipalities, holding constant socio-demographic predictors of crime. The socio-demographic correlates to violent and non-violent crime were obtained from the 2000 Decennial Census. The alcohol outlet data were obtained from the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and violent, non-violent, and total crime data were obtained using the Uniform Crime Reports from the New Jersey State Police. Multiple regression results indicate an on-premise outlet effect; that is, the per capita number of bars, taverns, and restaurants with alcohol licenses are statistically significant predictors of violent and non-violent crime -- with the effect being more robust for non-violent crime. Off-premise licenses (e.g., liquor stores) were not statistically important. New Jersey’s population restrictions have limited potential to reduce crime associated with on-premise alcohol availability -- yet such restrictions may contribute to reducing crime associated with the availability of alcohol for off-premise consumption.

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