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

R. A. Scribner, D. P. MacKinnon, J. H. Dwyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

214 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-340
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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