Author Neil Donnelly and Nicole Mahoney
Published December 2014
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 181
Subject Alcohol; Assault; Crime mapping; Lockouts / Night-time economy; Statistical methods and modelling
Keywords assault, liquor licence concentrations, outlet density, linear regression, spatial autocorrelation, simultaneous autoregressive (SAR) models

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To investigate the relationship between liquor licence concentrations and assault rates in Local Government Areas (LGAs) in New South Wales.


Police, liquor licensing and socio-demographic data were analysed. Spatial regression analyses were conducted to measure associations between liquor licence concentrations and domestic violence (DV) and non-domestic violence (non-DV) assault rates.


The concentration of hotel licences in an LGA, particularly at higher density levels, was strongly predictive of both DV and non-DV assault rates. A similar, but slightly weaker, association was found for the concentration of packaged licences and DV and non-DV assault rates. On-premises concentrations also predicted DV and non-DV assault rates at the LGA level but, unlike hotel concentration effects, in this case there was no evidence of stronger effects at higher density levels. A significant relationship between DV assault rates and the concentration of clubs was also found, but the association between the concentration of clubs and the non-DV assault rate was not as strong.


Regulatory authorities should be concerned about increases in liquor outlet density. In particular, increases in the density of hotels above 2 per 1,000 residents are of greater concern than increases in the density of premises with other types of liquor licence.

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