Source: The Mercury, 23 August, 1994, p.8


Beer gets blame
for violent crime
rate

Australia's high incidence 
of violent crime and domest-
ic violence was directly link-
ed to the population's massive 
beer intake, a crime expert said 
yesterday.

Speaking in Adelaide at the eighth
International Symposium on Victim-
ology, Professor Jan Van Dijk from 
the Netherlands said an internation-
al study he had made found a link 
between drinking beer and violent 
crime.

The study found a particular link 
between beer drinking and sexual 
and domestic violence.

"There is a direct correlation between 
beer consumption in countries and 
levels of violence, so where people 
drink more beer the rates of violence 
tend to be higher," he said.

"In countries where people drink less, 
or drink wine, there appears to be 
less violence.

"We do not fully understand the direct 
link between these two, but the link 
is certainly there.

"In typical beer-drinking cultures like 
Holland, Germany, England, Canada and 
Australia there is more violence than 
in Italy or Greece or Spain, where 
people drink wine."

Professor van Dijk said Australia was 
a "burglar's paradise" because most 
people lived in single-storey detached 
homes rather than high-rise apartments.

"It's very difficult to burgle an apart-
ment block in Paris on the sixth floor 
when there's a concierge on the ground 
floor," he said.

"But in Australia 80 per cent of people 
live in a detached house which is easily 
accessible from all sides.

"This makes it much easier to commit 
burglaries in Australia."

Professor van Dijk said 3.7 per cent 
of Australians were burgled in 1991, 
1.8 per cent were robbed, 15 per cent 
were victims of non-contact personal 
theft and 6.7 were victims of violent 
crimes, including sexual assaults, 
threats and domestic violence.

Australia generally experienced a high-
er crime rate than Europe because of 
its urban nature, high youth unemploy-
ment and high car ownership.

Professor van Dijk said robberies and 
muggings were less common in Australia, 
unlike Africa or Brazil where crime 
was rife because of the large number 
of dispossessed people.

"But there aren't that many desperate 
people in Holland and Australia because 
you have social welfare, so that helps 
to prevent robberies."

Professor van Dijk's study showed one-
quarter of crime victims in Australia 
thought police failed to treat them 
respectfully or fairly.

But only 5 per cent of victims suffer-
ed post-traumatic stress and needed 
professional counselling, he said.
AAP


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