258487 Alcohol outlet density and related harms in a college town: A spatiotemporal approach

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 1:10 PM - 1:30 PM

Laura Schuch, MPH , College of Public Health, Kent State University, Kent, OH
R. Scott Olds, HSD, MLIS , Social and Behavioral Sciences, Kent State University, Kent, OH
Eric Jefferis, PhD, MA Criminal Justice , College of Public Health, Kent State University, Kent, OH
A research gap identified by The Task Force on Community Preventive Services recognizes that most research in alcohol consumption behaviors in adults aged 18 and over shows the impact of an increase in alcohol outlet density, but little research explores the impact of a reduction in density on harms, especially with temporal changes. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), this study explores the spatial and temporal relationships between alcohol outlet density and alcohol related harms in a moderately sized college town in the Midwest in which a reduction in density occurred due to community development projects. GIS provides a means for mapping alcohol outlets and alcohol related crimes to explore spatial relationships using spatial distribution, proximity analysis, hot-spot analysis and geographically weighted regression. This college town nearly doubles in the fall with the return of the university students. There were 57 permitted alcohol outlets within the city limits leading to an alcohol outlet density of 6.14 per square mile. During 2008 2010, 960 people were arrested for alcohol related charges; 79% of the arrests occurred within a quarter-mile of a permitted alcohol outlet. Mapped data reveals a defined hot-spot of charge locations, yet the number of charges decreased from 2008 to 2010 as well as the standard distance of charge locations. This research provides further investigation of the before and after impacts of the closing of several nuisance bars in the town due to community development activity, and can inform community policy makers as they consider awarding new liquor licenses.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain how alcohol outlet density is related to crime in a community. 2. Describe how Geographic Information Systems is used to study the effect of the built environment on health behavior. 3. Assess the importance of including spatial and temporal patterns in researching alcohol-related harms. 4. Evaluate the impact of a reduction of alcohol density on harms.

Keywords: Alcohol Problems, Geographic Information Systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: In addition to two years of study in a graduate-level Public Health program (MPH expected May 2012), I have worked professionally as a GIS Analyst. My research interests are focused on the effects of the built environment on human health behavior.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.