Author Neil Donnelly and Nicole Mahoney
Published February 2023
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. CJB181
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



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. Significant non-linear relationships were found between the concentration of clubs and DV and non-DV assault rates respectively with each increasing once club concentration exceeded one per 1,000 population.


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.