Police say time to change drinking culture

Alcohol breeds violence, study finds
OneNews 8 August 2013 
Violent crime is more likely to happen in areas where there are more bars, clubs, supermarkets and grocery stores, new research shows. But the density of alcohol outlets does not directly translate into greater social harms, according to a report commissioned by the Health Promotion Agency. Instead, the relationship varies depending on the town or city in the North Island. In Wellington City, for every additional licensed club – such as sports and cosmopolitan clubs – there were four additional violent offences per year. For every additional licensed club in the Hutt Valley and Porirua City, there were an extra 1.6 car crashes each year.

Waikato University economics lecturer Dr Michael Cameron said the effect of off-licences stood out in Porirua, as did the impact of bars and clubs in South Auckland. In most of Porirua City and parts of Upper Hutt, an additional off-licence outlet was associated with more than 10.5 additional violent offences per year, the report showed. “It’s not surprising given the amount of unrest there’s been in the area and community action against off-licence outlets,” Dr Cameron said. “This really shows that the community action is really warranted.”

The agency’s report was based on data collected between 2006 and 2011 to help North Island councils develop local alcohol policies. These can restrict or extend trading hours of licensed premises, limit location and density of licences, and impose one-way door policies and conditions on bars.