The risk of assaultive violence and alcohol availability in Los Angeles County

Am J Public Health. 1995 Mar;85(3):335-40. doi: 10.2105/ajph.85.3.335.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / economics
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Black or African American
  • California / epidemiology
  • Commerce*
  • Employment
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Los Angeles / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Urban Population*
  • Violence*