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  • Alcohol And Violent Crime

  • Alcohol And Violent Crime

    U.S. Department of Justice

    ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 4:30 P.M. EDT               BJS
    SUNDAY, APRIL 5, 1998                     202/307-0784


    But Alcohol-Related Deaths and Consumption in Decline

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Although alcohol consumption and alcohol-related deaths are in decline, alcohol abuse is still linked to a large percentage of criminal offenses, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) said today.

    Almost four in 10 violent crimes involve alcohol, according to the crime victim, as do four in 10 fatal motor vehicle accidents. And about four in 10 criminal offenders report that they were using alcohol at the time of their offense.

    About one in five victims of alcohol-related violence (about 500,000 victims annually) report financial losses totaling more than $400 million. When injured in alcohol-related violence, the average victim experienced a $1,500 out-of-pocket medical expense.

    The rate of all alcohol-induced deaths fell 19 percent between 1980 and 1994, noted the report on alcohol and crime, citing National Center for Health Statistics data.

    "We also have seen recent declines in violence between current and former spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends," commented BJS Director Jan M. Chaiken. "This is the kind of violence most likely to involve alcohol abuse."

    Two-thirds of the violent crime victims who were attacked by an intimate--a current or former spouse or a boyfriend or girl
    friend--report that alcohol had been a factor.

    Among spouse violence victims, three out of four incidents were reported to have involved alcohol use by the offender.

    The arrest rate for driving under the influence of alcohol has fallen by 24 percent since 1990, and during the last decade the number of highway fatalities blamed on alcohol has dropped by about 7,000 a year--from 24,000 such deaths in 1986 to 17,126 fatalities in 1996--a 29 percent decrease.

    In 1996 local law enforcement agencies made an estimated 1,467,300 arrests nationwide for driving under the influence of alcohol, compared to 1.9 million such arrests during the peak year 1983, when 33 states had a minimum age for alcohol consumption less than 21 years old.

    Subsequently, all states changed the minimum legal drinking age to 21 years old, pursuant to federal highway funding legislation.

    In 1980 men and women younger than 21 accounted for 10 percent of all licensed drivers, but 15 percent of those arrested for driving under the influence. In 1996 people younger than 21 accounted for 7 percent of the licensed drivers and 8 percent of those arrested for driving under the influence.

    An estimated 80 percent of U.S. residents 12 years old and older have used alcohol at least once, and 50 percent describe themselves as current drinkers. National estimates of the annual per capita consumption of alcohol have declined 10 percent since 1990--from 40 gallons per person to 36 gallons.

    The most commonly used definition of intoxication is 0.10 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood, known as the blood alcohol concentration or BAC. Among state prisoners who reported drinking at the time of the offense for which they were incarcerated, the BAC was estimated to be 0.28 for inmates convicted of violent crime, 0.30 for those convicted of property crimes, 0.23 for those convicted of public order offenses and 0.19 for those convicted of drug offenses.

    This information came from a US DOJ online article.

    *** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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