Peaceful 24-Hour Party People

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In November Britain finally liberalized its drinking laws, allowing pubs to stay open past 11. Opponents predicted a Guinness-soaked orgy of violent chaos. Three months later, The Independent checks in:

Serious violent crime has fallen by more than a fifth since the licensing laws were liberalised, police figures show.

Major industrial cities, seaside resorts and market towns from the south coast to Cumbria are reporting dramatic falls in alcohol-fuelled assaults and woundings after the country's antiquated drinking laws were overhauled.

The Home Office will announce today that serious violent crime was 21 per cent lower in the final three months of last year than during the same period in 2004. The number of woundings fell by 14 per cent and the total for all violent crime dropped by 11 per cent.

Whole thing here.

NEXT: Party Like It's 1989

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  1. I predicted something similar when AZ went from keeping bars open until 1am to 2am went into effect. Anecdotally, I’ve seen an improvement. Instead of people slamming drinks right up until closing, people drink more slowly and some even have a glass of water or 2 before they head home. I don’t have any stats to back it up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw a slight drop in things like drunk driving here in AZ.

  2. You mean, you have less problems with crime and fights when you DON’T push a bunch of people who’ve been slamming down drinks rapidly ahead of last call out onto the street at the same time, drunk but mostly still awake and raring to go because it’s only 11? Shocker.

  3. So, people who get to pursue an activity in a more leisurely, less regulated environment are more likely to pace themselves, relax, and not act crazy?

    Next you’ll try to tell me that banning alcohol fueled violent crime!

  4. Even though correlation does not equal causation, this is a step in the right direction.

  5. True. Negative correlation of crime with liberal drinking laws doesn’t equal negative causation between the two. But it sure as hell makes you skeptical of a *positive* causation between them!

  6. While this result makes sense to me I do think it’s worth keeping in mind that New Labour have been blatantly dishonest in their methods of counting crimes and compiling statistics.

    Just because this seems to “prove” a point we might agree with doesn’t mean that it should be taken at face value.

  7. Buried in the 17th paragraph (my count, it could be off) is the following:

    The extended hours have been accompanied by the introduction of a pubwatch scheme which means that any drink-induced crime can bring a three or 12-month ban from every establishment from Millom to Broughton in Furness, seven miles away.

    Gee, do ya think that might have something to do with it? After reading the whole article the only thing I am surprised about is that people in the UK are surprised by it, given the “pubwatch scheme”.

  8. bob mologna and happyjuggler0-

    Thank you for some interesting caveats.

  9. Sort of counter intuative aint it…a bit like gun laws (ooooops!)

  10. You know, I’ve been wondering lately whether the reason some folks in the Middle East are so … high-strung is that their religion officially forbids alcohol, so they’re not as likely to get a cold one and chill for a while.

    What would we be like if we got into an “Aaaargh! I need a drink!” mood but couldn’t get one?

    Would Warren be burning stuff in the streets?

    Then again, maybe I’m projecting too much. I’ve heard there are “mean drunks,” but I’ve never seen one. Personally alcohol makes me mellow, happy, horny, and too eager to share personal information, roughly in that order.

  11. I’m happy they liberalized the laws but you need more time to see if the lower crime rate holds out. Its been a very cold winter in the UK — more people staying at home? The real test will be the summmer during the World Cup — if the numbers are lower after that then perhaps we have proof of good results.

  12. I’ve heard there are “mean drunks,” but I’ve never seen one.

    There are indeed. But the one I ran into was too drunk to get his mean act together so I just stalled until he got bored and wandered off. Lucky for him he did, as I was armed at the time. His tactic of picking on the harmless gray-haired old fart would have backfired.

    If he’d been in a bar at early closing, however, he could have been a problem and would probably have found another problem to bounce off of.

  13. I’m waiting to see what the crowd coming out of the V for Vendetta premiere are like…

  14. something similar when AZ went from keeping bars open until 1am to 2am

    I have a half-assed theory that keeping the bars open later actually reduces ordinary street crime — I think that the later the bars are open, the later there people out and about on legitimate business, which keeps the low lifes in the shadows a bit longer. When the bars her in AZ closed at 1 am, it seemed to me there was a fucking witching hour from about 1:30 to about 4:30 where crackheads and the like reigned supreme. In the last year or so since the 2 am bar closing went into effect, I don’t think I’ve seen nearly as much dumpster diving & other such visible signs of life from the underworld going on after the bars close.

    Like I said, it’s only a half-assed theory.

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