Author Craig Jones, Kyp Kypri, Steve Moffatt, Chloe Borzycki and Bryan Price
Published November 2009
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 137
Subject Alcohol; Assault; Drugs and Drug Courts; Statistical methods and modelling; Evaluation reports
Keywords alcohol, availability hypothesis, assault, violence, interrupted time series analysis

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The aim of the current research was to determine whether the decreased availability of on-licence alcohol sales had any impact on alcohol-related violence in the Newcastle CBD.


In March 2008, the New South Wales Liquor Administration Board (LAB) introduced significant restrictions on hotel trading hours for a number of licensed premises in the Newcastle CBD. We sought to determine whether this reduced the incidence of assault in the vicinity of these premises. Three sources of police data were employed to address this research question: recorded crime data, last-place-of-consumption data from the Alcohol Linking Program and police call-out data. Recorded crime and Linking data revealed a significant reduction in alcohol-related assaults in the intervention site but not the comparison site. These two data sources revealed no evidence of any geographic displacement of assaults to other licensed premises or neighbouring areas. There was no evidence of any decrease in the total number of calls for service in either the intervention or comparison sites but this is most likely due to limitations inherent in the call-out data. All three data sources revealed a significant decrease in the proportion of assaults occurring after 3am in the intervention site but not in the comparison sites. Collectively, the data provide strong evidence that the restricted availability of alcohol reduced the incidence of assault in the Newcastle CBD.

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