ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – According to a new study, increasing the price of alcohol may help decrease the number of violent crimes.

The study showed data from 2008 where the price increase of alcohol in Britain and Wales occurred as there was a 12 percent decrease in violent crime rates.

“There’s well-known links between alcohol use and violence, and it’s consistent with research we’ve done here in British Columbia,” Tim Stockwell, director at the Centre for Addictions Research of BC, told CTV News.

The researchers found that as the cost of alcohol went up, the amount of disposable income among 18- to 30-year-olds went down.

Stockwell said that less heavy drinking means fewer arguments escalating into fistfights.

“A lot of violence is public violence involving groups of young men around late-night drinking venues,” Stockwell told CTV News.

Stockwell targeted price increase as the most effective way to drive consumers toward less harmful drinking habits.

“The evidence is that paying attention to the minimum price of alcohol is particularly important,” he explained to CTV News.

Stockwell feels that drinks should be priced based by how much alcohol is in them. He thinks that if a flat tax is added, it will just drive consumers to buy cheaper, more powerful drinks.

Three recommendations were made from this report: tie alcohol prices to inflation, institute minimum alcohol prices for every kind of drink, and price based on alcohol content.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that there are approximately 88,000 alcohol-related deaths attributed to excessive use, making it the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death for the U.S.

The Violence and Society Research Group released its findings on the Cardiff University’s website.


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