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Mapping the location of alcohol outlets, drug activity and violent crimes could help police prevent violence, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the University of Michigan studied the relationship between violent crimes in Boston drug markets, and the types and densities of alcohol outlets in those areas, MedicalXpress reports. They analyzed data on homicides and aggravated assault incidents, drug arrests and 911 calls, along with 2009 alcohol outlet data from the Massachusetts Alcohol Beverage Control Commission. They also examined census data.

They found areas with the highest levels of violent crime were poorer and had greater numbers of alcohol outlets and higher drug arrest rates.

“Identification of such ‘hot spots’ may help in identifying micro-environments: blocks or intersections whose characteristics facilitate violent behavior. Our study helps identify such micro-environments, an emerging area of criminology research, in Boston,” the authors wrote in the American Journal of Public Health.


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