Norwegian researchers have found that even small changes in pub and bar closing hours seem to affect the number of violent incidents, stated in a press release from Wiley-Blackwell.
The findings, published in journal Addiction, suggest that a one-hour extension of bar closing hours at night on weekends led to an increase of an average of 20 violent cases per 100,000 people per year. This represents an increase in violence of approximately 16 percent.
The results suggest that the effect occurs both ways. In other words, reducing trading hours by one hour leads to a decrease in violence of the same magnitude as the increase in violence seen if closing hours are increased by one hour.
“These findings echo the results from studies from around the world that you see more violence in cities when you extend trading hours”, said Professor Ingeborg Rossow, lead author of the study.
The study is based on data from 18 Norwegian cities that expanded or restricted their closing hours by up to two hours in the decade 2000 – 2010. Researchers examined whether these changes affected violence in the city centre on weekend nights. Violence outside the town during the same time window, which was not likely to be affected by changes in closing hours, was used as a control for other factors. In these 18 cities weekend closing hours were between one and three at night, early by comparison to many cities around the world.
“These findings hold important implications for communities around the world who are struggling to deal with the massive burden of alcohol-related harm. If you want to reduce alcohol-related harm, restricting trading hours of licensed venues seems to be an effective measure”, said study co-author Professor Thor Norström.