The relationship between risky alcohol consumption, crime and traffic accidents in Australian rural communities

Dennis J. Petrie, Christopher M Doran, Anthony P. Shakeshaft, Rob Sanson-Fisher

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To estimate the alcohol-attributable crime and traffic accidents for rural communities in Australia, controlling for potential bias. Method: For 20 rural communities in New South Wales, Australia, crime and traffic accident data was obtained from police records along with risky alcohol use estimated from a postal questionnaire. The relationship between community levels of risky drinking and crime and traffic accidents that occur in alcohol-related times is analysed controlling for the underlying level of crime by using the rate of incidents that occur in non-alcohol-related times. Findings: For the 20 rural communities, it was estimated that risky alcohol use is likely to have attributed to between 1.4 and 7.7 common assaults per 1000 population and between 0.6 and 1.8 serious traffic injuries or fatalities per 1000 population, every year. Conclusions: Rural communities in Australia are experiencing a sizeable amount of potentially avoidable harm due to risky alcohol use. Reducing the population levels of those drinking at risk of acute harm or improving the settings in which drinking takes place may have benefits for these communities, especially in terms of crime and traffic accidents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-362
Number of pages4
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • Crime
  • Rural
  • Traffic accidents

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