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Minimum pricing linked to 9% drop in crime

A new report released today shows how raising the price of the cheapest alcohol sold in off-licences can result in fewer crimes and traffic violations.

Published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, the research paper finds that over a nine-year period, a 10% increase in minimum alcohol prices at liquor outlets in the Canadian province of British Columbia was linked with a 9.17% reduction in crimes against personsa 19% reduction in alcohol-related traffic violations, and a 9.39% reduction in total rates of crime outcomes examined.

These results add to the growing body of evidence that says alcohol-pricing policies can be highly effective tools for reducing alcohol-related harms. Professor Tim Stockwell, lead author of the report, said:

“These data show a significant reduction in rates of crime following increases in the minimum price of alcohol in British Colombia. We have already seen substantial reductions in alcohol related deaths linked to this policy in Canada, so it appears that minimum pricing is a powerful tool for reducing alcohol-related harm at the individual and societal level.”

Katherine Brown, Director of IAS said:

“This report adds more real life evidence to show that raising the price of the cheapest alcohol can have a substantial impact on reducing crime and third party harms linked to drinking. We hope that the new data will encourage the Westminster government to take action on the cheapest alcohol sold in the UK.

“With the cost of alcohol harm exceeding more than £21billion each year, we can’t afford not to act on this evidence.”

The report ‘Relationships Between Minimum Alcohol Pricing and Crime During the Partial Privatization of a Canadian Government Alcohol Monopoly’ can be accessed from the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 76, pp.628–634, 2015): http://dx.doi.org/10.15288/jsad.2015.76.628