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Study Finds Closing Bars Early Linked to Reduction in Crime in Baltimore Neighborhood

Research from PHI’s Alcohol Research Group and the Boston University School of Public Health found that reducing the hours that bars and taverns could sell alcohol  in one Baltimore neighborhood was associated with a reduction in all violent crimes.

  • Newsweek
a bar with bottles of alcohol on a shelf

Reducing the hours bars and taverns could sell alcohol in a Baltimore neighborhood  was associated with a reduction in all violent crime in the area annually by 23 percent, a study has found.

“Research by the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) and the Alcohol Research Group of Emeryville, California, found that the number of murders dropped by 51 percent within the first month of the trial.

The homicide rate fell by 40 percent annually, compared to similar low-income neighborhoods which had no change in hours of alcohol sales.

The findings suggest that reducing late-night hours of sale may be an effective way for cities to curb excessive drinking, as well as homicides, assaults, and other crimes.

Erika Rosen headshot
We were able to take advantage of this natural experiment, and apply rigorous analytic methods to assess the effect of the change... While we expected to see some change, the size of the drop in crime was even more significant than we expected. Erika Rosen

Study lead author of PHI’s Alcohol Research Group

For the study, the team analyzed the impact of the Maryland Senate Bill 571, which was introduced in September 2020.

The bill reduced the hours of sale for alcohol in 2020, from 20 hours per day to 13 hours per day. Instead of staying open until 2 am, bars and taverns were required to shut at 10 pm.

The team then measured total violent crime incidents within 800 feet of bars and taverns from May 2018 to December 2022—before and after the new legislation. They focused on late-night incidents between 8 pm and 4 am around 26 bars.”

Related Stories

Reducing Late-Night Alcohol Sales Curbed Violent Crimes by 23% Per Year in a Baltimore Neighborhood / Boston University School of Public Health

In One Baltimore Neighborhood, Curbing Liquor Sales Hours Slashed Crime Rates / HealthDay

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Originally published by Newsweek

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