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Australian Study Finds Closing Pubs and Clubs Earlier Reduces Violence

Posted in Alcohol Abuse

A new study from researchers at the University of Newcastle in Australia has found that restricting closing hours of pubs in the city of Newcastle in 2008 reduced the rate of assault by 37 percent. The number of assaults in the Central Business District decreased from 33 per month to 22 per month.

The restrictions mandated that pubs and clubs close at 3:30 am, and that new patrons couldn’t enter the premises after 1:30 am. This was prompted by high rates of alcohol-related violence and disorder in the District, and 14 venues were affected.

Associate Professor Kypros Kypri led the study, which compared the assault rates in Newcastle with those in nearby Hamilton, where pubs and clubs stayed open longer.

Dr. Kypri said that their study disproves the idea that restricting closing times simply moves problems into neighboring areas, as this was found not to be the case.

Alcohol Healthwatch director Rebecca Williams said the study underscores previous evidence that earlier closing times can help reduce alcohol-related violence, and that the Australian government should consider imposing these restrictions nationwide.

Dr. Kypri added that their study makes one wonder what sort of reduction in harm would occur if pubs and clubs were forced to stop serving alcohol at 2 am, and how many serious injuries could be prevented.

Sources: Alcohol Healthwatch, Australian Study Shows Restrictions To Pub Closing Hours Reduce Assaults, September 17, 2010

Science Daily, Restricting Pub Closing Times Reduces Assaults, Australia Study Finds, September 17, 2010