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Alcohol Advertising and Violence

Published:January 20, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2019.10.024

      Introduction

      Numerous studies have found associations between alcohol outlet density and violence, but it is unknown whether alcohol advertisements visible outside outlets are also associated with violent crime. Baltimore City, MD enacted restrictions on retail alcohol establishment advertising practices as of June 5, 2017. This study examines the association between alcohol advertisements visible outside off-premise alcohol outlets and violent crime before this restriction.

      Methods

      Outlet observations (n=683) were conducted in summer 2015, and violent crime data (n=24,085) were from June 5, 2015, through June 4, 2017. The number of violent crimes per square mile within 1,000 feet of outlets was summed using kernel density estimation. In 2018–2019, authors used mixed models with a Simes–Benjamini–Hochberg correction for multiple testing.

      Results

      Roughly half (47%, n=267) of the outlets with complete data (n=572) had alcohol advertisements visible from the exterior. Outlets with alcohol advertisements had 15% more violent crimes per square mile within 1,000 feet (=1.15, 95% CI=1.07, 1.25, q<0.001) after adjusting for neighborhood context. All associations between alcohol advertisements and specific types of violent crime were significant, with the association strongest for homicides (=1.28, 95% CI=1.13, 1.46, q<0.001). There was no association between cigarette advertisements and violent crime (eB=1.08, 95% CI=0.92, 1.26, q=0.43).

      Conclusions

      Alcohol advertisements visible outside off-premise outlets were associated with increased violent crime over and above the association between the outlets themselves and violent crime. Reducing alcohol advertising visible from the street may decrease risk of violent crime that is associated with alcohol outlets.
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