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

RICHARD SCHWESTER
PAM, Vol. 15 No. 2, (2010)

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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