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Alcohol and Crime

For centuries, the relationship between alcohol and crime has been depicted in the many fatalities that occur as a result. A 2005 survey reflects that a little over half of Americans 12 years or older admitted to being current alcohol drinkers; specifically, 51.8 percent. This means that approximately 126 million people in America consume alcohol, increasing from 121 million people (50.3 percent) in 2004.

More than one fifth of individuals 12 years or older engaged in binge drinking at least once in the last 30 days prior to being surveyed in 2005. In 2005, 16 million individuals cited heavy drinking; specifically, 6.6 percent of the population 12 years or older. This statistic is similar to 2002's heavy drinking rate of 6.7 percent. In 2003 the rate was 6.8 percent, and in 2004 it was 6.9 percent.

Current or past month use is defined as at least one drink in the past 30 days; this is inclusive of binging and heavy use. Binge use is 5 or more drinks on the same instance, meaning at the same time or during a few hours of each other, on at least 1 day in the past 30 days; this is inclusive of heavy use. Heavy use, often seen in alcoholism is 5 or more drinks on the same instance on each of 5 or more days during the past 30 days.

Juveniles who use drugs or alcohol commit 1 in 10 of the violent crimes that are not fatal against older teenagers. This statistic was two and a half times more than the percentage of crimes against younger teens. The Bureau of Justice Statistics cites that generally, alcohol and crime are determined by the usage amount, meaning the heavier the alcohol use, the higher chance that the adolescent will partake in criminal actions.

A relationship exists between past month alcohol use and emotional and behavioral issues. The relationships are especially potent among heavy and binge alcohol use and delinquent, aggressive, and criminal actions. In 1996, an average day had approximately 5.3 million convicted violators who were being supervised by criminal justice authorities. Almost 40 percent of these violators (approximately 2 million) were guilty of using alcohol when they had committed the offense, which they were convicted of.

To solidify the fact that there is a link between alcohol and crime, statistics show that approximately 6 in 10 jail inmates who had been convicted admitted to drinking on a regular basis during the year prior to the violation for which they were convicted of. Almost 2 out of 3 of these inmates confirmed that they had previously been professionally treated for an alcohol dependency issue.

Nationwide, approximately a quarter of women probationers had been drinking when their violation had occurred compared to more than 40 percent of men on probation. For individuals convicted of crimes relating to public-order, almost two-thirds of women and three-quarters of men had been consuming alcohol when the violation occurred. Suffice it to say that alcohol and crime is one the nation's leading cause of death.

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