Objectives: Although there is considerable evidence that alcohol consumption facilitates assaultive violence, the extent to which alcohol outlets in a community influence assaultive violence remains controversial.
Methods: To assess the geographic association between city-specific rates of assaultive violence and alcohol-outlet density, an ecologic analysis of the 74 larger cities in Los Angeles County was conducted for the 1990 reporting year.
Results: Sociodemographic factors alone accounted for 70% (R2 = .70) of the variance in the rate of assaultive violence in a multiple regression model. Adding the variable for alcohol-outlet density to the model yielded a significant positive slope. The magnitude of this relation indicates that in a typical Los Angeles County city (50,000 residents, 100 outlets, 570 offenses per year), one outlet was associated with 3.4 additional assaultive violence offenses in 1990.
Conclusions: These findings indicate that higher levels of alcohol-outlet density are geographically associated with higher rates of assaultive violence. This association is independent of measured confounders, including city-level measures of unemployment, ethnic/racial makeup, income, age structure, city size, household size, and female-headed households.