Alcohol Licensing Policies and Alcohol-Related Crimes

Heavy drinking can add to social problems. These include the disruption of public order, violence, and sexual crimes. Can local alcohol licensing policies reduce alcohol-related crimes?

The Study

Researchers studied the impact of local licensing restrictions on the spatial and/or temporal availability of alcohol in England. They grouped each local area according to its licensing policy strength. The groupings for alcohol licensing policies were “passive,” low, medium and high.

The researchers then calculated the rates of reported crimes in each area. These included sexual crimes, violence against a person, and public order crimes linked to alcohol. The rate of financial fraud was a control crime. So is not attributed to alcohol.

alcohol licensing policiesResearchers adjusted the crime rates for area population size, deprivation, and outlet density Also, alcohol-related hospital admissions at baseline.

The rate of crimes related to alcohol dropped faster. That’s for four years in the areas with strongest policies. But such crimes then increased. So there was no long-term difference in alcohol-related crimes and licensing policies. And there was no change in the the rate of financial fraud over time. It was the non-alcohol control factor.


There was no overall impact of the strength of local alcohol licensing policies on alcohol-related crimes in England.