Stockwell, T., R. (1997). Regulation of the licensed drinking environment: a major opportunity for crime prevention. In Homel, R., J. (ed.) Policing for Prevention: Reducing Crime, Public Intoxication and Injury, Crime Prevention Studies, 7, pp. 7-34. Criminal Justice Press, New York. [CH70]
Excess alcohol use is implicated in a substantial amount of crime in most modern societies, especially that which results in bodily harm whether from violence or road crashes. Beyond reactive policing of problems as they occur, the traditional response to reduce such crime has been to educate individuals to moderate their drinking and to try and rehabilitate offenders. A new approach is being developed which focuses as much on the drinking environment as the drinkers. An overview is provided of a research program which identified the prior drinking locations of offenders and the characteristics of high risk drinking settings. Licensed premises were found to be high risk both for drink-driving and violent offences, in particular those which permit or encourage high levels of intoxication among their customers. An intervention program was then designed and evaluated which sought to reduce levels of intoxication on medium and high risk premises. The overall results were modest but indicated that substantial reductions in risk and harm can occur when there is full co-operation from a licensed venue. It is concluded that such co-operation will be forthcoming if there are credible levels of enforcement of existing liquor licensing laws. The means to identify and modify high risk drinking environments are already available and enjoy strong public support. Realising the enormous potential for the prevention of crime and bodily harm will require an adjustment of existing priorities and resources for policing and liquor licensing administration.
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