Types of Crime
The type of crime linked to the night time economy varies greatly depending on a range of factors, but most noticeably the socio-economic characteristics of the area.
Not all NTE related crime is linked to alcohol consumption, for example, the majority of noise complaints occur due to the trading times of the businesses involved being at odds with those of the resident population but are still counted as night time economy related incidents.
Although not all NTE crime is alcohol related, alcohol has been found to be a contributing factor in the level of violent incidents reported. The 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales reported 917,000 violent incidents where the victim believed the offender(s) to be under the influence of alcohol, accounting for 47% of violent offences committed that year, a rise of 3% from the previous year.
Patterns of Drinking
Certain patterns of drinking have also been shown to be more closely linked to violent crime. Studies have reported that the likelihood of involvement in assaults and the risk of injury from assault increase considerably when drinking more than 8 or 10 units of alcohol in one session.
People who binge drink are also more likely to be involved in crime in the night time economy, a national study in 2003 found binge drinkers were five times more likely to have been involved in a group fight in public in than people who drink regularly, but in moderation.
It is impossible to conclusively state why the consumption of alcohol leads to increased crime rates. ‘Routine activity theory’ suggests that in order for a crime to occur at least three conditions need to be met: there must be an offender, a suitable victim (this could be an person or an object) and there must be an absence of a suitable guardian against crime (anyone whose presence would discourage the crime from occurring).
Businesses involved in the night time economy attract large numbers of people, providing ample opportunity for individuals to become either offenders or victims, but whereas in the daytime the presence of multiple witnesses of diverse social and cultural backgrounds acts as a preventative measure, this does not seem to be the case at night.
The informal social norms of the night time economy and a high level of intoxication of those present both appear to be contributing factors. The presence of restaurants near to bars and clubs, with a focus on food rather than alcohol can introduce a different group of people to an area and has been found to reduce the level of crime.
Multiple studies show that violence in the night time economy is most likely to involve males under the age of 30, as both offenders and victims, and usually occurs between strangers rather than acquaintances. A 2003 study states that the majority of injuries sustained in NTE violence are minor and predominantly facial, caused by either fists or glasses and bottles.
Incidents of NTE violent crime usually occur in well-defined areas of late night entertainment districts and the majority of incidents happen at the closing time of the venues involved. Environmental factors contribute heavily to the likelihood of violence occurring, for example, a large number of people crowded into a small area, especially when exiting a building or when waiting in a small takeaway can increase the chance of an incident taking place.
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