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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Alcohol has been in this world since around 7000 B.C., this is a staple in several countries. The 19th century was the time that alcohol began to be drank more often, as well as more well known. As the use of alcohol continued to grow, the more people wanted a prohibition of alcohol. In 1920 the United States of America decided to pass a law that prohibited the creation of alcohol as well as the sale of alcohol. Then in 1933 congress added the 21st amendment that replaced the prohibition laws. (1) Today alcohol is something that is consumed daily, “The top 10 percent of American drinkers - 24 million adults over age 18 - consume, on average, 74 alcoholic drinks per week. That works out to a little more than four-and-a-half 750 ml bottles of Jack Daniels, 18 bottles of wine, or three 24-can cases of beer. In one week. Or, if you prefer, 10 drinks per day.” (2)


Prohibition had been discussed in 1917, which was when the United States of America had ended the first World War. The current president who was Woodrow Wilson created a temporary prohibition for the goal of saving the grains for the soldiers. Then in 1919, the 18th amendment was put into place, this amendment had banned manufacturing of alcohol and the sale of alcohol. Once the prohibition law had taken place, there were reports of a decline in rates of people getting arrested for being drunk. Since alcohol was now illegal to create and sell, many people looked to ‘bootlegging' which is the illegal creation and sale of alcohol. There were also stores that continued to sell alcohol to people, as well as people who would bring alcohol illegally into states, and then people who would create their own alcohol is their homes. (1)

Even though the amounts of people being arrested for being drunk had decreased, the rates of crime from people participating in bootlegging had gone up. A man named Al Capone had made around 60 million dollars a year from bootlegging alcohol and selling it in stores. There were other people who were also big in the marketing of black market. George Cassidy, who was a member of congress had actually supplied the other members of congress with their alcohol during the times of prohibition. Edward Donegan, who in the first fourth months of prohibition had become a millionaire due to bootlegging. The four LaMontages Brothers were the bootleggers of the high society, they were members of exclusive social clubs. (3)

Something like prohibition was hard to enforce. The Internal Revenue Service was in charge of enforcing the act. They had the power to fine people, imprison people, and confiscate vehicles. People were able to get away with creating alcohol in their homes because there was no way anyone could search their homes looking for alcohol. It was difficult to patrol the boards of the United States looking for people smuggling alcohol into the country, they also had a difficult time locating and closing all the speakeasies across the country. Most of the time the people in charge of enforcing the prohibition were searching for the larger gangs instead of the normal person. (4)

Prohibition is thought to of done more harm than good in the aspect of crimes, it ended up causing more organized crimes. People wanted alcohol and there were people who wanted to participate in the illegal act of supplying it. Prohibition had led to an increase of crime. “During the first year of Prohibition the number of crimes committed in 30 major cities in the U.S. increased 24%. Arrests for drunkenness and disorderly conduct increased 21%. Arrests for drunken driving jumped by 81%.During the first ten years, the murder rate climbed 78% across the country.  In Chicago, almost 800 gangsters died. Nationally, the homicide rate per 100,000 people rose almost two-thirds during Prohibition. Repeal led to a sharp drop throughout the 1930s and into the early 1940s” (5)

Violent Crime

Alcohol is something that has an effect on crimes. When a person drinks for a prolonged time, their risk of committing a violent crime is higher than someone who does not drink as often. Many people who have served jail time have committed a crime that was related to the use of alcohol. “On average, roughly 40 percent of inmates who are incarcerated for violent offenses were under the influence of alcohol during the time of their crime. Many of these criminals had an estimated blood alcohol content (BAC) level of more than three times the legal limit at the time of their arrest.” (6)

There are several crimes that can be done under the influence of alcohol, one of the most known is driving under the influence (drinking and driving). Crimes such as robbery, sexual assault, aggravated assault, domestic abuse, child abuse, and homicide are all crimes that can be done while under the influence of alcohol. Sexual assault is something that occurs more often than some think. Alcohol can intensify the crime, when an offender is under the influence of alcohol they can become more aggressive towards others and the victim. “An estimated 37 percent of sexual assaults and rapes are committed by offenders who were under the influence of alcohol.”  (6) “Based on victim reports, alcohol use by the offender was a factor in: 37% of rapes and sexual assaults, 15% of robberies, 27% of aggravated assaults, 25% of simple assaults.” (7)

Crimes are more likely to be done under the influence of alcohol more than any other substance, robberies are the only other crime that has another drug influenced. Alcohol is more likely to be a factor in violent crimes, according to the SASC, around two thirds of people who were assaulted had reported that alcohol was involved. (7) Child abuse and domestic violence are crimes that are influenced by alcohol. Alcohol itself reduces ones self-control and cognitive function which puts them at a higher risk for acting out violently.

Other types of Crimes

Child Maltreatment is an illegal crime and it something that alcohol influences. When a parent overuses alcohol it causes them to lose their sense of responsibility, reduces the time they spent at home, reduces the money they have to spent on basic needs of the child. In the USA, 35% of offenders of parental child abuse had consumed either alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident. (13) There was a study that was conducted in 2013 and was published in the journal called ‘Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research'. Researchers were able to find a connection between parents who had a form of abuse done to their children, and how they were looking for help for their drinking problem. They were able to make the connection of if a parent drank excessively, their chances of abusing their children were higher. (14)

Driving while under the influence is the most common alcohol related crimes. “Each year, more than 1.1 million Americans are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), and more than half of these arrests end in convictions… On average, drivers under the influence take more than 300,000 trips on American roads and highways every day.” (8) “Every day 36 people die and approximately 700 are injured in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.” (9) Many of the states in America had their legal blood alcohol concentration level to be a 0.08%. (10) Many are affected by other driving under the influence, whether it is the driver, a passenger, or another person. Around 11,000 people lost their lives due to driving under the influence in the year of 2016, and 1,233 of those people were under the age of 14. (11) Wyoming is the state that has the highest rate of DUI death rate which is 9.65 people out of 100,000. (12)


Some people feel that alcohol is not directly influence crime rates. “Most crime, of course, is not related to drinking, and most drinking never results in crime. But some people are far more prone to crime and violence when they are drinking or drunk than when they are clean and sober.” (15) There is evidence that supports that someone who was already at risk for committing a violence crime just added on to it when they consumed alcohol. More than half of the people arrested for a violent crime were under the influence of alcohol before the committed the crime, but that does not mean there is a link between alcohol to crime. Criminals who drink before and during their crime are just more likely to get caught and convicted than those who did not drink before or during. (15)

Alcohol does in fact help influence crimes because it causes several issues psychologically. When a person consumes alcohol normally it can cause recklessness, impaired decision making, and aggression. (16) These effects can factor into whether a person would commit a crime or not. Recklessness can influence several crimes such as drunk driving and assault, impaired decision making can influence drunk driving and sexual assault, and then aggression can influence crimes like assault, child abuse, and domestic violence. Robberies have a 15 percnt link to alcohol influence, sexual assault has a 37 percent link ti alcohol use, aggravated assault has a 27 percent link to alcohol use. Homicides have a 40 percent link to influence of alcohol. (6)

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