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Definitions, Types, and Statistics of Alcohol-Related Crimes


Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 1/22/2023

Alcohol-related crimes occur when someone commits a crime while under the influence of alcohol. Moreover, some of these crimes are motivated by alcohol abuse disorder (AUD), which is an alcohol addiction that produces cravings for alcohol. Alcohol-based crimes are often motivated by someone being Under the Influence or by someone using alcohol to give them the confidence to commit the crime.

Alcohol-related crimes range from drunk driving to homicide. The severity of the crime depends on what someone does while they’re under the influence but alcohol is always involved in alcohol-related crimes. Alcohol-related crimes are common because alcohol reduces inhibitions and gives people more confidence to carry out acts they otherwise wouldn’t when sober.

Alcohol-related crimes are also common because of how alcohol affects the brain. Alcohol is a chemical that can alter levels of serotonin and dopamine within the brain. When these chemicals are unbalanced people begin to act out in different ways. While some people describe feelings of euphoria, others may become aggressive.

There are a handful of common alcohol-related crimes. These are crimes that are commonly associated with alcohol and alcohol usage.

The alcohol-related crimes are listed below.

1. Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault occurs when someone causes severe bodily damage to someone else. In cases of aggravated assault, the person who committed the crime (defendant) has to have been aware of their actions, acted with intent to harm, and the crime must have been reckless. These are the factors that separate aggravated assault from regular assault.

Aggravated assault has a unique relationship with alcohol. In fact, nearly 27% of all aggravated assault cases are committed by people who are under the influence of alcohol. People on alcohol can have feelings and intense emotions about violence, and if acted on, can lead to these cases.

2. Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a blanket term for several types of acts against a spouse or former spouse. Some crimes that fall under this blanket term include sexual assault, stalking, psychological harm, and psychical violence. IPV is another crime that’s heavily influenced by alcohol.

According to the NIAAA multiple studies conclude that 30 to 40% of these cases carried out by males are influenced by alcohol. Another study suggests that 27 to 37% of these cases carried out by females are influenced by alcohol. It’s a personal and intimate crime, which is why alcohol can cause such strong reactions in defendants.

3. Robbery

Robberies are cases that involve taking items by force or trying to take items by force. Robberies are among the most common crimes carried out in the United States and nearly 15% of all robberies occur while the defendant is under the influence of alcohol. These cases can turn violent but typically end without anyone being harmed.

Alcohol influences robberies because it gives people the confidence and reduced inhibitions to carry out acts they wouldn’t otherwise do. Robberies are risky, which makes alcohol the perfect substance to numb that feeling of risk robbers might have before going through with the idea.

4. Sexual Assault

Sexual assault cases are among the most brutal. These cases consist of sexual acts being performed on someone or to someone without consent. These cases can include touching someone without consent, forcing someone to do sexual acts and other disturbing sex-related actions without consent.

Sexual assaults have a direct correlation to alcohol use, especially on college campuses. According to statistics from Augusta University, 50% of college-age women report being sexually assaulted, and 27% have been the victims of rape or attempted rape. Alcohol plays a role in sexual assault cases because it lowers inhibitions and causes people to act aggressively. Alcohol can also make it challenging for women to say no, which puts them at a higher risk of being victims of sexual assault cases.

5. Child Abuse

The abuse of a child is the act of a parent neglecting, beating, sexually assaulting, or otherwise harming someone under the age of 18. Child abuse is caused by many factors but children of alcoholics often have a higher risk of being abused, sexually assaulted, or exploited.

40% of cases of child abuse cases are influenced by alcohol and other drugs. These cases are influenced by alcohol because it can cause parents to become forgetful, detached, and aggressive. Alcohol can also bring issues parents may be having to the surface or contribute to leaving kids unattended for long periods.

6. Homicide

Homicides are some of the most violent crimes men can commit and involve killing another person. There are many types of homicide cases but they all end the same, with someone or multiple people dead. While homicides are less common than some of the other crimes we’ve mentioned, homicides draw the most influence from alcohol.

40% of all homicides in the U.S. are caused or influenced by alcohol. Alcohol is used in these cases because it can numb the pain of killing someone or provide the confidence needed to carry out such an act. Moreover, people who commit homicide are more likely to become alcoholics after committing the crime.

Alcohol-related crimes are common because alcohol impairs decision-making and leads to altered moods and judgment.

Some eye-opening alcohol-related statistics are found below.

  1. Close to 70% of alcohol-related crimes occur within the home.
  2. In the United States, 10,000 people each year are killed on the road by drunk drivers each year.
  3. There are an estimated 1.4 million acts of alcohol-related violence against strangers each year.
  4. Alcohol is a factor in 40% of all violent crimes.
  5. Among violent crimes, the perpetrator is more likely to have consumed alcohol than other substances.
  6. 20% of alcohol-related crimes that occur in the home involve a weapon
  7. People under the age of 21 were victims in 13% of alcohol-related crimes but only committed 9% of them.

These are only a handful of crime statistics related to alcohol.

How does Alcohol Lead to Crime?

Alcohol leads to crime because it impairs a person’s judgment and leads to an increase in the risk of aggressive behavior, even if the individual doesn’t have violent tendencies. Because of the way alcohol interacts with people, and how many people have access to the substance, alcohol-related crime rates continue to rise. Alcohol can lead to many crimes and increase their brutality.

Does Alcohol Make You Violent?

No, alcohol alone doesn’t make you violent. That said, alcohol interferes with cognitive function that can lead to less perception of situations. Depending on the person this narrowed perception can progress to aggression and eventually violence. While alcohol doesn’t automatically make someone violent it causes changes to behavior and mood that can make someone more likely to engage in violence.

In Which Countries is Alcohol Illegal?

Alcohol is legal in most countries but some countries outlaw its use. In fact, alcohol was illegal in the United States during the 1920s and early 1930s.

Today, the majority of countries that outlaw alcohol are in the Middle East region of the world. These nations are found below.

  • Iran
  • Yemen
  • India (some states)
  • Afghanistan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Libya
  • Kuwait
  • Pakistan
  • Somalia
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Mauritania
  • Brunei
  • Bangladesh
  • Sudan
  • Iraq

Most of these countries have legal alcohol in limited aspects or certain regions.

What Countries Have the Highest Rate of Alcohol Consumption?

There are several countries with higher alcohol usage totals than other countries. The highest rates of alcohol consumption occur within the countries in Eastern Europe near Russia and Ukraine.

The countries with the highest rate of alcoholism are found below.

  • Moldova
  • Belarus
  • Lithuania
  • Russia
  • Czech Republic
  • Serbia
  • Romania
  • Australia
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia

While these nations consume the most alcohol, there are several countries that come in right behind them.