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Alcohol Use and Interpersonal Violence - Alcohol Detected in Homicide Victims

NCJ Number
AJPH Volume: 76 Issue: 2 Dated: (February 1986) Pages: 144-149
Date Published
6 pages
To examine the extent of and factors in alcohol use by criminal homicide victims at the time of death, this study used data from the Los Angeles City Police Department and the Los Angeles Medical Examiner's Office to study 4,950 homicide victims in Los Angeles during 1970-1979.
Victim blood samples were tested for alcohol levels in 82.7 percent of the cases. Alcohol was detected in 46 percent of the victims tested. Thirty percent of the tested victims had a blood alcohol level greater than 100 mg per 100 ml, the level of legal intoxication in most States. Alcohol was most commonly present in young, male Latino victims. Alcohol was also most commonly detected in victims killed during weekends, when the homicide occurred in a bar or a restaurant, when the homicide resulted from a physical fight or verbal argument, when victims were friends or acquaintances of offenders, and when homicides resulted from stabbings. The findings indicate the need for controlled epidemiologic studies of the role played by alcohol as a risk factor in homicide and on the importance of considering situational variables in developing approaches to homicide prevention. 3 data tables and 35 references. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 1986