On May 3, 2010, the city of San Bernardino, California, banned single sales of beer and other alcohol products, partly in response to a research project that shows a definite link between alcohol and crime.
As reported in the San Bernardino County Sun, research conducted by Professor Robert Nash Parker at the University of California Riverside was a significant factor in the City Council’s decision. The San Bernardino County Public Health Department assisted Professor Parker in the study, which analyzed city crime data and alcohol outlets selling single-serve size beer and malt liquor. The study concluded that areas with a high availability of single-serving beer and alcoholic beverages were more likely to have higher rates of crime and violence.
In the research project’s final report, professor Park wrote, “We would expect that if alcohol from single serve containers is being immediately consumed, rates of violence would tend to be higher around retailers with higher percentages of cooler space devoted to these products.” The research findings as well as other factors reported by law enforcement prompted the San Bernardino City Council members to pass the new law banning single serve beer sales as an “urgency ordinance,” meaning it went into effect immediately. The measure also includes new penalties for alcohol sellers in the city who fail to control other public nuisances such as graffiti and loitering around their stores.
Although alcohol laws are usually determined by state government, city officials in San Bernardino see this measure as an important way to hold liquor stores accountable – while also helping to control crime and protect public health.
“Study inspires San Bernardino beer ban,” San Bernardino County Sun, May 12, 2010.