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Tools for Change: Alcohol Regulation

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2017
2 pages
This instructional paper for grantees under the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program (BCJI) provides an overview of the relationship between crime and alcohol abuse, as well as regulatory options for addressing this issue.
The first section of the paper summarizes a series of guidebooks on the link between alcohol abuse and crime developed by the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing. These guidebooks address the following alcohol-related public-safety problems: chronic public inebriation, assaults in and around bars, and underage drinking. This is followed by a review of regulatory strategies for addressing alcohol abuse as a means of controlling crime. Some communities have enacted ordinances that limit or ban alcohol consumption in specified areas, so as to reduce the risk of crimes being committed in those areas. Other regulatory options include use permits that must be purchased by stores that sell liquor. This money is then used to monitor and enforce state and local regulations designed to reduce alcohol abuse and related crime. Brief assessments are then offered for alcohol-abuse control measures in specific cities, with attention to the effectiveness of designating alcohol-free zones in particular areas at high risk for crime. Information is also provided on sources of information on the effectiveness of various means of reducing alcohol-related crimes. Included in these resources is the University of Minnesota's compilation of a list of approximately 30 cities that have ordinances, codes, and/or license conditions that limit the sale and/or consumption of certain alcoholic beverages.