A Spatial Analysis of Alcohol Outlet Density Type, Abandoned Properties, and Police Calls on Aggravated Assault Rates in a Northeastern U.S. City.
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Background: Community-based research and prevention scholarship has shown a growing interest in examining the impact of the ecological structure of neighborhoods on community violence. Ecological structures such as higher numbers of alcohol outlets and abandoned/vacant properties in geographically dense, poor, and socially isolated communities are critically important to consider. Further, disadvantaged urban communities are burdened by greater police presence with limited or no abatement in crime or violence. Purpose: Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping, spatial analysis techniques, and a negative binomial regression analyses, this study investigated the relationships between alcohol outlet density consisting of license C (i.e., combined on and off premises establishments) and license D (i.e., off premises establishments such as liquor stores), abandoned properties, and police calls to service on aggravated assault rates in a Northeastern United States urban city. Results: Negative binomial regression analysis results showed that license C alcohol outlet density count (IRR = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.08, 2.11), license D alcohol outlet density count (IRR = 1.13, 95% CI = 1.01, 1.30), abandoned property count (IRR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.01, 2.01), and police call to service counts (IRR = 1.24, 95% CI = 1.01, 1.50) were positively associated with aggravated assault rates. Analyses controlled for census data characteristics. Conclusions: The link between alcohol outlet density and violent crime has been established in public health research. However, this study represents an important contribution in recognizing the unique relationships between license C and license D alcohol outlet density, abandoned properties, and police calls to service with aggravated assaults in an urban neighborhood. Conclusions are drawn for policy and practice.