University of Nebraska Medical Center

Regulating Alcohol Outlet Density to Reduce Excessive Alcohol Consumption.

A group of neighborhood leaders met at the Gifford Park Community Garden to work on a proposal to address alcohol outlet density through a local land use ordinance, setting a higher standard for business practices around alcohol sales and allowing the city more authority to address problem outlets.

Dr. Jim Stimpson, associate professor in the COPH Department of Health Services Research and Administration, and Ms. Diane Riibe, executive director, Project Extra Mile, will co-lead this project. The UNMC COPH will partner with Project Extra Mile to address the public health problem of alcohol outlet density as a way to reduce excessive alcohol consumption. The project will utilize GIS mapping systems to map liquor licenses, alcohol-related violations, and nuisance violations associated with alcohol-licensed establishments in Omaha and Nebraska City. The mapping will help identify high violation history and high alcohol outlet density to assist police resources in reducing hot spots of alcohol abuse and related issues.

According to Ms. Riibe, “Over the past 20 years, alcohol outlets in Nebraska have grown at a rate nearly twice as fast as that of the state’s population, creating an overconcentration of alcohol outlets and increased alcohol-related problems in communities in the state. Numerous studies confirm that neighborhoods with a higher concentration of alcohol outlets experience higher rates of alcohol consumption, resulting in increased alcohol-related traffic crashes, assaults, homicides, and child maltreatment, among other crimes.” Ms. Riibe said that she and her staff are “looking forward to the partnership with UNMC to create a local data tool that can be used to educate community leaders on this important issue and be used by communities to advocate for change.” In addition, Margie Magnuson of the Alcohol Impact Coalition, one of the groups in Omaha that will utilize the information from the project to make real change in the community, said that “This collaborative project between UNMC and Project Extra Mile will help neighborhood leaders bring research and data related to alcohol outlet density from our own communities to the table as we work to create safer and healthier neighborhoods for people to live, work, and raise their families.”

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