Assessing the impacts of Saskatchewan's minimum alcohol pricing regulations on alcohol-related crime
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Introduction: Saskatchewan's introduction in April 2010 of minimum prices graded by alcohol strength led to an average minimum price increase of 9.1% per Canadian standard drink (=13.45g ethanol). This increase was shown to be associated with reduced consumption and switching to lower alcohol content beverages. Police also informally reported marked reductions in night-time alcohol-related crime. Objectives: This study aims to assess the impacts of changes to Saskatchewan's minimum alcohol-pricing regulations between 2008 and 2012 on selected crime events often related to alcohol use. Methods: Data were obtained from Canada's Uniform Crime Reporting Survey. Auto-regressive integrated moving average time series models were used to test immediate and lagged associations between minimum price increases and rates of night-time and police identified alcohol-related crimes. Controls were included for simultaneous crime rates in the neighbouring province of Alberta, economic variables, linear trend, seasonality and autoregressive and/or moving-average effects. Results: The introduction of increased minimum-alcohol prices was associated with an abrupt decrease in night-time alcohol-related traffic offences for men (-8.0%, P<0.001), but not women. No significant immediate changes were observed for non-alcohol-related driving offences, disorderly conduct or violence. Significant monthly lagged effects were observed for violent offences (-19.7% at month 4 to -18.2% at month 6), which broadly corresponded to lagged effects in on-premise alcohol sales. Discussion: Increased minimum alcohol prices may contribute to reductions in alcohol-related traffic-related and violent crimes perpetrated by men. Observed lagged effects for violent incidents may be due to a delay in bars passing on increased prices to their customers, perhaps because of inventory stockpiling. [Stockwell T, Zhao J, Sherk A, Callaghan RC, Macdonald S, Gatley J. Assessing the impacts of Saskatchewan's minimum alcohol pricing regulations on alcohol-related crime.
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