In England, Less Binge Drinking Has Led to Less Violence

By May Wilkerson 04/30/15

A new annual study has found a steep decline in heavy drinking and serious violence.

drunk brits_0.jpg

In England, a steep decline in binge drinking has led to a 10% decrease in injuries related to serious violence, according to a new annual study of data from hospitals across the country. Researchers at Cardiff University found an even bigger decrease of 18% in violent attacks against kids and teens.

Overall, more than 30% fewer people have required emergency treatment since 2010, says professor Jonathan Shepherd, the leader of the study. Though there are multiple reasons for the decline in violence, a reduction in binge drinking among 16- to 24-year-olds is considered a key factor, especially regarding violence on the streets at night.

The researchers describe alcohol as “a powerful driver of both violence-related injury and violent offending.” But the rate of drinking by teenagers and young adults has decreased by more than half in the past decade, while binge drinking by the same age group has decreased by nearly a third.

Researchers say people are drinking less due to economic concerns, while at the same time alcohol prices are rising. Other contributing factors include better street lighting, more widespread use of police-monitored security cameras (CCTV), and even pubs switching from glass to plastic cups. Shepherd also believes social media plays a role. “I think we are becoming a more empathetic society with better connectivity with social media,” he said.

But with the country’s economy poised for an upswing, Shepherd says he fears drinking, and subsequently violence, could increase again. He also said the country is curtailing spending on law enforcement and security cameras (CCTV).

“We think if funding was taken out of CCTV in public places, together with cost cutting in the police partnerships–taking police analysts out because they are seen as backroom facilities rather than frontline—together with steps in the economy which make alcohol more affordable, [we] would run the risk of violence increasing again,” he said.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
May Wilkerson.jpg

May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.