Drop in binge-drinking may count for drop in violent crime

More than 200,000 people in England and Wales needed medical treatment for injuries sustained following violence in 2013 according to a study conducted by Cardiff University.

The study gathered data from 117 emergency departments, minor injury units and walk-in centres and estimates that 234,509 people attended for treatment – 32,780 fewer than in 2012.

Lead author of the study and director of the violence and society research group at Cardiff University, Professor Jonathan Shepherd said that it shows another ‘significant year on year fall in serious violence across England and Wales’.

The reasons for the continuing falls in violent offences in many Western countries are not known, but a fall in binge-drinking and the removal from lead in petrol have been cited.

Said Professor Shepherd: “In England and Wales, the growth of multi-agency violence prevention involving police, the NHS and local authorities may well be a factor; violence has fallen more in regions where this is best organised.

“Another probable explanation is changes in alcohol habits.

“Binge drinking has become less frequent, and the proportion of youth who don’t drink alcohol at all has risen sharply.

“Also, after decades in which alcohol has become more affordable, since 2008 it has become less affordable.

“For people most prone to involvement in violence, those aged 18-30, falls in disposable income are probably an important factor.

“Continuing, substantial decreases in serious violence are welcome for citizens, communities and in combatting the fear of crime. They also decrease the costs of violence to health services and the criminal justice system and reduce pressures on hard-pressed A&Es late at night at the weekend.”

In Nottinghamshire, the county’s police force has launched the Alliance Against Violence programme in a bid to reduce incidents of violence by targeting known offenders during weeks of action.

The force has also held knife and firearm amnesties and recently launched Operation Promote, to target violence caused by drink and drugs in the city.