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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Alcohol and crime

The links between alcohol and violence are well known, but did you know that alcohol is a factor in nearly half of all violent crimes? Find out what you can do about alcohol-related crime in your area.

Alcohol and crime: a snapshot

When it comes to crime, alcohol use has a big impact. Recent crime statistics show that:

  • in 45 per cent of all violent crimes, the victims believed their attackers had been drinking
  • 37 per cent of domestic violence cases involve alcohol
  • in 2007-08, more than a million crimes involved alcohol use in some way

The kinds of crime that often involve alcohol

Alcohol frequently plays a role in certain kinds of crime including:

  • anti-social behaviour
  • assault
  • robbery

In many cases both the criminal and the victim had been drinking before the crime took place. That makes it harder for the police to get a good description of the suspect and to find out what happened.

Punishments for minor alcohol-related offences

If fear of alcohol-related violence and intimidation keeps you away from town centres on weekend evenings, you're not alone. This is a problem in many communities. 

To stop that kind of intimidating rowdiness, police can issue on-the-spot fines in the form of penalty notices for intimidating drunken behaviour.

Notices can be issued for things like:

  • public drunkenness
  • creating a nuisance
  • urinating in public
  • threatening behaviour

These notices result in instant fines that vary based on the severity of what happened in each case.

Anyone who consistently drinks too much and breaks the law, can also receive an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO). That order will be tailored to limit where they go and what they do, and can order them not to enter certain pubs or bars. 

If they later violate that order they could receive more severe penalties, including high fines, and even time in jail.

Worried about alcohol-related crime in your area?

There are a number of steps you can take if you’re concerned about alcohol-related crime in your area

You can:

  • contact your local neighbourhood policing team to let them know about the problem – they specialise in neighbourhood issues like this, and hold regular meetings with residents
  • contact your local council to let them know what’s happening
  • join a local Neighbourhood Watch group, where you can hear about other people’s experiences
  • check out the Alcohol Concern website, which has lots of information about alcohol-related issues

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