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Keywords:

  • alcohol availability;
  • youth violence;
  • homicide

Abstract

The aggregate relationship between homicide and alcohol availability is well established across a number of national and sub-national settings in North America, Europe and some parts of Asia. However, results linking youth homicide and alcohol availability at the retail level are largely absent from the literature, especially at the city level and across longer time periods. In a multivariate, pooled time series and cross-section study, youth homicide offending rates for two age groups, 13–17 and 18–24, were analysed for the 91 largest cities in the USA between 1984 and 2006. Data for social and economic characteristics, drug use, street gang activity and gun availability were also used as time series measures. Data on the availability of alcohol for each city were gathered from the US Census of Economic Activity, which is conducted every 5 years. These data were used to construct an annual time series for the density of retail alcohol outlets in each city. Results indicated that net of other variables, several of which had significant impacts on youth homicide, the density of alcohol outlets had a significant positive effect on youth homicide for those aged 13–17 and 18–24. Such positive effects have been found for adults in national and neighbourhood level studies, but this is the first study to report such evidence for teenagers and young adults. An important policy implication of these findings is that the reduction of the density of retail alcohol outlets in a city may be an effective tool for violent crime reduction among such youth.[Parker RN, Williams KR, McCaffree KJ, Acensio EK, Browne A, Strom KJ, Barrick K. Alcohol availability and youth homicide in the 91 largest US cities, 1984–2006. Drug Alcohol Rev 2011;30:505–514]