This study examined the role of high-crime taverns as "hot spots" of violent crime in Milwaukee, Wis.
The study, which was conducted in 1989-92, was designed to identify the nature and distribution of crime across the universe of liquor-license locations in Milwaukee, Wis., and specifically to test the hypothesis that a small number of high-crime taverns produce the majority of tavern-related crime. This hypothesis was supported by an analysis of a wide array of data: homicide data covering 1980-89; Milwaukee tavern violation reports for 1960-89; offense reports for the 5-year period of 1986-90; and computer-aided dispatch records for the period July 1990 to January 1991. These official records were supplemented by a survey of all Milwaukee police patrol officers during a 3-month inservice training program, in which they were asked to rank problem taverns according to categories of violence on the premises, drugs, neighborhood disorder, and after-hours complaints. The findings show that 12 percent (n=96) of the 783 homicides that occurred over the 10-year period were tavern- related; whereas, less than 1 percent of the city's addresses were licensed premises. Other categories of violent crime were also found to be disproportionately located in taverns. Nonetheless, most taverns produced relatively little crime, with a small proportion of taverns causing most of the tavern crime problem. Slightly over 15 percent of all taverns were found to produce consistently over half of all tavern crime. The report recommends to the police chief a program for combatting crime in high-crime taverns; the chief has approved the program and obtained an additional $75,000 in city funds to support it and other community-oriented crime analysis. Implementation of the program is scheduled for later in 1992. 20 tables and 74 references
Date Published: January 1, 1992