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Assaults in and Around Bars

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2001
46 pages

This guidebook offers suggestions for analyzing a local problem of assaults in and around bars and suggests possible strategies for tailoring a response to a particular local situation.


An overview of the factors that contribute to aggression and violence in bars considers the effects of alcohol consumption on behavior, the culture that surrounds drinking, the type of establishment, a concentration of bars in a given area, aggressive bouncers, a high proportion of young male strangers, price discounting of drinks, refusal of service to intoxicated patrons, lack of comfort and crowding, competitive situations, low ratio of staff to patrons, lack of good entertainment, unattractive decor and dim lighting, tolerance for disorderly conduct, availability of weapons, and low levels of police enforcement and regulation. Questions to ask in the analysis of a local problem are grouped under the following topics: incident characteristics, victims, offenders, location/times, management practices, and regulation and enforcement practices. An outline of general requirements of an effective strategy include enlisting community support for addressing the problem; implementing multifaceted, comprehensive strategies; getting cooperation and support from bar owners and managers; informally monitoring bar policies and practices; and formally regulating and enforcing relevant liquor-licensing laws. The guidebook advises that two groups of responses must be combined in any effective strategy. There must be responses to reduce how much alcohol patrons drink, and there must be strategies to make the bar safer, regardless of how much alcohol patrons consume. Strategies are offered for achieving these objectives. Responses that have proven to have limited effectiveness are identified. Appended summary of responses to assaults in and around bars and 28 references

Date Published: July 1, 2001