Speaker 1: (00:00)
The holiday season is known for bright lights, family, friends, and good times. Unfortunately, he’s also known for having too many good times. Drunk driving arrests, traditionally on the rise during the San Diego vacation, this year drunk driving fatalities have already hit a 20-year high. It’s no secret that some communities have a higher concentration of liquor stores and liquor outlets than others. And it’s an injustice and a potential danger that the San Diego Alcohol Policy Panel hopes to address at its annual meeting tomorrow. Catherine Pat, co-director of city health and keynote speaker for the Alcohol Policy Planning Meeting, joins me in speaking about how this issue is affecting San Diego. Katherine, welcome to the program.
Speaker 2: (00:48)
Thank you very much Maureen. So happy to be here
Speaker 1: (00:50)
With you joining us also as David Shorey, he is at the Institute of Public Strategy, Program Director for East County. David. Welcome. Thank you. So Katherine, give us some idea of the issues this alcohol policy panel will be looking at at tomorrow’s meeting.
Speaker 2: (01:07)
Alcohol consumption is a major determinant of people’s health. And as you mentioned, Maureen, in your introduction it can be deadly. You know, alcohol contributes to over a hundred thousand deaths in the United States a year. Alcohol can also have a number of impacts on our health, ranging from an increased risk of cancer and heart disease to an increase in the number of road accidents and even a rate of homicides and of suicides higher. I always think it’s interesting to think about the cost associated with alcohol. Binge drinking can cost us $ 249 billion in 2010, and this is mostly related to binge drinking.
Speaker 1: (01:45)
So David, in which areas of San Diego do we see a higher concentration of bars and liquor stores?
Speaker 3: (01:53)
Well, what we can say is that across the county, of the 628 census tracks, that’s how the ABC licenses it, that 308 are over-concentrated. That means they’ve been given a certain number of licenses and those licenses have been passed, and it’s both licenses or the off-sale licenses, which means liquor store purchases that you would then take home with you. And then 215 census leads on sale are too concentrated and these are our restaurants and those kinds of areas. So we’re seeing all over the county over-concentration in, uh, quite a few, you know, you think of areas that are more prone to having ours and liquor stores, entertainment areas, but we’re seeing it too. in rural areas as well. For example, to the east, the cost area or the Spring Valley area, the Lemon Grove area all have over-concentrated areas and have contributed to the increase in both crime and health impacts. public.
Speaker 1: (02:58)
And the types of stores that can sell alcohol have increased in recent years, David hasn’t, they’ve seen several convenience stores adding alcohol to their inventory.
Speaker 3: (03:08)
Alcohol is something that makes money. And so we understand that in the economy, as is the case with COVID and also the insecurity of where we are going, that businesses will want to improve their financial lines so that they can continue to survive. But in reality, what we’ve seen is that when you have an impact, like an excessive focus on communities, it actually hurts businesses. Um, businesses tend to want to attract the most people, the most people who come into their homes, and you’ll see things like selling high-alcohol alcohol, uh, drinks, single servings of that sort of thing, which you wouldn’t normally use when hosting a house party or having a beer or cocktail after work. And so, this stuff has an impact on public health, public safety, and the overall health of the business. Catherine,
Speaker 1: (04:00)
Do we find a direct link between the number of alcohol outlets in a community and a higher crime rate?
Speaker 2: (04:07)
Absoutely. Like I said earlier, people are quite familiar with the individual health effects of drinking alcohol, but surprisingly, uh, a lot of people might not be aware that the location and number Cellular liquor stores can also make a huge difference in the health of a community. So, for example, neighborhoods that have these high concentrations of stores have been linked to increased individual drinking patterns, including young people who then engage in binge drinking. And then second studies have shown that communities that have these high concentrations of drinking alcohol also have increased rates of violence and violent crime. So even after accounting for things like poverty and gang violence, neighborhoods that have more of these alcohol outlets tend to see more homicides, aggravated assaults, sexual assaults. and thefts committed in their streets.
Speaker 1: (04:59)
And David, according to public policy, it’s not just criminal behavior. It has to do with the fact that there are a lot of bars and liquor stores in a neighborhood. This has, as you alluded to a negative economic impact on the community, can you explain how this
Speaker 3: (5:12 am)
Works? Certainly. So when you have an excessive concentration of liquor retailers, say you have a business district that has several bars, several liquor stores, several local markets. And that seems to be the dominant business activity there. Second, it tends not to be a welcoming area in terms of perception. So the, uh, liquor stores, the corner markets, et cetera, are going to be pouring in. They’ll attract a certain, uh, clientele that maybe, uh, other business owners don’t necessarily want to attract the overall physical and, uh, environmental condition of where it’s at, tends to be. degrade. And so, uh, you see in communities that have this excessive focus that, uh, you know, there’s less public investment, there’s less revitalization that’s happening. And, uh, people tend not to want to visit them, so they don’t invest their money in these communities.
Speaker 1: (06:14)
So, Kathryn, what do we do about this? Does this cycle of more alcohol outlets crowd out other businesses in the communities? Is this one of the fairness issues you’re trying to solve?
Speaker 2: (06:25)
Absoutely. I think most importantly, cities can do something about it. And I think it’s really interesting that San Diego in particular, uh, is doing something around SARE liquor sales. So I’m working with a group called City Health that is actually looking at a number of different policies that impact the health and well-being of residents. And one of the policies we’re looking at specifically is the sale of SARE alcohol. So in terms of criteria, San Diego has currently won a silver medal in this category which is fantastic for the fans. However, they could reach gold. And if cities have the power to limit the density of liquor stores and regulate sales, it can have a significant impact on residents, safety, well-being and health. So there are opportunities for improvement. And we always encourage people to contact us at [email protected] if they want more information on how to do this.
Speaker 1: (07:21)
And Catherine, for example, Lemon Grove, which was mentioned as one of those highly concentrated areas with liquor stores and liquor outlets, the city council recently denied a liquor license to a convenience store because he said there were too many liquor stores in their community. Is this the kind of action you’re looking for? It is
Speaker 2: (07:41)
Absolutely correct. I think where appropriate and where possible, making good choices based on evidence-based policies is exactly what we try to encourage people to do. I think the other thing Maureen is important to mention is what the residents think about the inclusion of alcohol in this convenience store? Does the city take into account what locals would like to see? Because I think that’s what we’ve seen for decades in red line communities, where we tend to see these groups of alcohol outlets within communities of color and also communities of color. low income. Residents should have a choice over who and what is sold within their particular community. And
Speaker 1: (08:21)
I spoke with Catherine Patterson, co-director of city health and keynote speaker at the tomorrow’s alcohol policies panel meeting and with David Surey Institute for public strategies, program director for the East County, Catherine and David. Thank you very much.
Speaker 2: (08:36)
Thank you very much Maureen. It was a pleasure. Thanks Maureen.