Researchers have studied the relationship between alcohol availability and violence for years. But the new paper adds several new facets: arrests for drug possession and dealing, and citizen calls to 911 about drug use, as well as the broader geographic factors surrounding each type of establishment where alcohol is sold.
Details from state liquor board licenses, police records and the U.S. Census Bureau all factored into the analysis. Over time, other types of data could be added so that researchers and police can see the impact of any factor that might contribute to violent behavior.
The goal: to help policy makers and police identify areas that have higher rates of risk factors that may combine to produce violence.
The density of liquor stores or alcohol-serving bars and restaurants alone isn't enough to explain violence patterns the new paper shows that it's much more complex than that.
"Why are two areas of a city, which seem to be the same across typical demographic factors, different in their level of violence? We need to become more nuanced in understanding these relationships," says Lipton, who is also a member of the Prevention Research Center at the U-M School of Public Health.
The new research, begun when Lipton was at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, involved Anthony Braga, a Harvard University criminologist who is chief policy advisor to the Boston police commissioner, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Xiaowen Yang. Co-authors also include U-M statistician Jason Goldstick, Ph.D., U-M emergency medicine doctor Manya Newton, M.D., MPH, and Injury Center research analyst Melissa Rura, Ph.D.
The analysis of Boston data may help local authorities while also helping the
|Contact: Kara Gavin|
University of Michigan Health System