How Common are Alcohol-Related Crimes?

Although legal, alcohol is widely considered a drug as any other illicit substance, due to having similar, if not worse effects on the human mind and body. The fact that it is so easy to obtain, combined with its adverse negative effects on a person’s inhibition and ability to make rational decisions, makes it the number one cause for aggressive criminal offenses.

Alcohol-Related Crimes

How common are violent alcohol-related crimes?

About 500,000 cases of violent alcohol-related crime are reported each year. 86% of homicides were carried out under the influence of alcohol, 60% sexual abuse cases involved alcohol consumption, 37% assaults involved alcohol abuse, and 13% cases of child abuse were caused by excessive alcohol intake.

What is the most common alcohol-related crime?

Drunk driving (DUI) is the most common alcohol-related crime. Nearly 10,000 people die because of accidents on the road while under the influence of alcohol. Each year, there are about 1.4 million arrests for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). More than half of these arrests end in convictions.

How to prevent alcohol-related crimes?

Methods to avoid alcohol-related crimes:
1. Alcohol abuse awareness and proper education.
2. Curfews and restrictions for alcohol serving and drinking.
3. Creating affordable and accessible rehabilitation system.

Driving Under Influence

Or DUI for short is one of the most common alcohol-related crimes, with nearly 10,000 people loosing their lives on roads while being under the influence of alcohol. The number of injured people is even higher reaching hundreds of thousands every year.

Not only lives are lost in car accidents involving drunk driving. Over $100 billion is lost every year repairing the damages to the property caused by drunk driving incidents.

Considering these numbers, it should not come as a surprise that nearly 1.4 million arrests for Driving While Intoxicated, or DWI, driving are made each year and over half of those arrests end in convictions.

Violent Crimes

Since alcohol consumption negatively influences inhibition, violent crimes are often perpetrated while the criminal is under the influence. These crimes include homicide, all types of assault, domestic and stranger violence, child abuse, as well as rape and sexual abuse.

When it comes to domestic violence reports, about 500,000 of them yearly are tied to alcohol consumption. Of these, almost 70% happen in and around the hours of 11pm and 20% included the use of a weapon, lethal or otherwise.

Out of all the violent crimes reports:

  1. 86% homicides were carried out under the influence of alcohol
  2. 60% sexual abuse cases reported involved alcohol consumption by abuser, the victim, or both
  3. 37% assaults involved alcohol abuse
  4. 13% cases of child abuse were caused by excessive alcohol consumption

In 70% of cases that involve child abuse, the abuser (parent or guardian) was reported to have an alcohol or drug abuse problem.

In regards to intimate partner violence, about 65% reported that during the act of violence the abuser was under the influence. This equates to more than 450,000 reports of intimate partner violence each year that was caused by alcohol abuse.

Violence committed over strangers is one of the most common types of alcohol-related violent crimes, especially so on the college. Around 95% of all stranger violence on colleges involves alcohol consumption by both attacker and victim.

And out of all the violent crimes nearly 60% end up with injuries with men being twice as likely to sustain major injuries as women.

Out of 1.2 million robberies that happen yearly, 15% are carried out under the influence of alcohol.

Not all violent crimes need to have an attacker and a victim. People suffering from severe depression and who have participated in binge drinking have a higher likelihood of experiencing suicidal thoughts and are more prone to harming themselves than people abstaining from alcohol in such situations.

Alcohol-Related Crime Convictions

If we take into account all of the convictions that occur in a single year, 40% of those are related to alcohol abuse, meaning that either the perpetrator was under the influence of alcohol as he was committing the crime, or he was committing the crime in order to sustain his/her alcohol dependency.

During their sentence-serving in prison 1 in 4 inmates were reported to suffer from alcoholism, when given a standard questionnaire.

Alcohol-Related Crime Prevention Methods

While there is no surefire way to prevent any and all alcohol-related crimes there are some measures that can be put into action to reduce the number of potential situations that are known to cause such crimes.

  1. Proper education and alcohol abuse awareness is just the first step towards harm prevention associated with alcohol abuse and dependency.
  2. While banning alcohol altogether is a very unlikely scenario; creating curfews for alcohol serving and consumption that target the specific periods, when alcohol-related crimes are the most prominent, might prove like a good start to finding a solution.
  3. And lastly creating a more affordable and accessible rehabilitation system for those addicted to alcohol will help those with alcohol dependency get back into society more easily, instead of having to resort to criminal activity in order to sustain their addiction.


No matter which type of crime is taken into consideration, alcohol abuse and dependency always seem to play an important role in instigating them.

Due to the psychological effects of alcohol, people under influence have a harder time making logical decisions and as such are more likely to resort to criminal activity. It is for this reason that investing in alcoholism awareness and prevention is one of the best ways to cut down on the alcohol-related crime rate.

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