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Reviewing Alcohol And Crime In Different Situations Criminology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 1737 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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It is obvious that crime and alcohol appear together in many different situations’. Discuss.

It is often stated by the home office and government that there is direct cause and effect between alcohol and the following crimes being, anti-social behaviour, assault and robbery. This is due to the fact that in many cases both the criminal and the victim had been drinking before the crime took place. The fact both or either the parties had been drinking before an incident leads to the common belief that alcohol is the working cause of the crime related incident. However people do not seem to be at fault in believing that alcohol leads to crime, this is as is as alcohol accentuates an individual’s emotions. Therefore this would mean if the individual is feeling emotions of anger or frustration the alcohol amplifies such emotions, taking away any inbuilt etiquette, giving a false sense of confidence. It is then not hard to imagine the possibilities of such individuals in such a mind frame.

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Before going in to statistics related to crime and alcohol, analysing them and then finding some sort of pattern to draw statistical driven conclusions. I would like to first look in a bit of depth at how psychologically alcohol actually alters the human mind. Looking at how alcohol actually psychically affects the mind would give key answers as to why people commit crimes after they have consumed alcohol or if alcohol does not really play any major role. Alcohol for a fact slows down an individual’s reaction time. According to Pernanen in his book Alcohol in Human Violence he views this as adding to alcohol consumers experiencing problems in realising “restricted cues” and therefore increasing the likelihood of conflict [1] . In addition as I already somewhat stated alcohol may worsen an individual’s existing emotions this also affects an individual’s exiting psychological symptoms worsening those too, making them aggressive to some delusional threat. This idea is also backed up and believed by Author Coid, who said that not all but some alcoholics suffer from some sort of personality disorder increasing the possibility of them acting temperamentally. [2] 

In addition it is a fact that Alcohol is a depressant causing the drinker to become entrenched in depression, incurring all the negative side effects of depression such lack of concentration and poor judgement. In turn this makes an individual more irritable therefore susceptible to conflicts. Alongside being a depressant alcohol is also responsible for many other detrimental personality and psychology states such as anxiety and personality changes. In regard to anxiety most people who consume alcohol will become stressed from the impact of the drug which will then manifest psychologically. It is well known that anxiety can cause individuals to act in ways that the ordinary reasonable individual would not. For example an individual suffering from anxiety will be more prone to panic attacks and have an outbreak of panic in situations where another individual would be perfectly calm. Such side effects of anxiety caused by alcohol consumption would most certainly increase the chances of conflicts with other individuals. In regard to personality changes, this is what one would consider one of the most fatal side effects of Alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption may make a person’s personal traits dramatically change, for example making them temperamental or egotistical. This is due to Alcohol’s effect on serotonin in one’s body. Serotonin is a chemical in people’s bodies that transmits signals relating to mood in their brain. When its job is weakened by alcohol, moods and emotions can get out of control. This in turn can cause all sorts of catastrophic conflicts. [3] 

Upon looking closely at the psychological effects of Alcohol I believe that it has been well established that Alcohol majorly affects and alters the mind, to be more precise the psychology of the individual in a very detrimental way, which in turn causes very heated conflicts, resulting in crime. The crime caused by Alcohol consumption is not just violent crime caused by aggressive behaviour but many other crimes such as stealing. This is as Alcohol can alter the mind in such a way as stated above that it changes one personality and can deteriorate their morals. Once an individual’s morals have been deteriorated or just even altered by Alcohol it is not hard to predict what sort of behaviour may occur from an intoxicated individual. It therefore appears from the psychological effects of crime that crime and alcohol have a very strong link. In the light of psychological evidence I may even go as far to say that alcohol in most situations appears to be the initiating factor of all conflicts and behaviour leading to crime. This is as psychological evidence shows alcohol as that kick causing the crime, for example where an individual in a heated situation who is not under the influence of alcohol would say “I’ll leave him alone it’s not worth it” the same individual in the same situation however under the influence of alcohol may say with Dutch courage “bring it on” in an aggravating aggressive manner, which would then most likely cause a heated conflict to erupt resulting in a violence crime.

I shall now move my study on to actual statistics produced by British Crime Survey Data on the influence of alcohol in relation to crime. Here is an example of an actual extract from the BCS report regarding statistics relating to Alcohol and Crime. “According to the 2009/10 BCS, victims believed the offender(s) to be under the influence of alcohol in half (50%) of all violent incidents, similar to the level in the 2008/09 survey.”

According to this and other extracts from the BCS which controversially states as fact that in nearly half of all violent incidents, victims believed offenders to be under the influence of alcohol, that this figure rises to 58% in cases of attacks by people they did not know and 37% of domestic violence cases involve alcohol, in nearly a million violent attacks, the aggressors were believed to be drunk [4] . Looking at these statistics given by the BCS it appears that alcohol is the underlying cause of many violent incidents. However it is interesting to see that the BCS report only gives statistics regarding alcohol and violent incidents. Therefore it appears that the most alcohol related crime is violence.

Looking at the statistics closely alone, demonstrates the vagueness and ambiguity of the key issue. For instance the terminology used such as “believes” is a mere suggestion that the probability appears to be high of an offender being in an intoxicated state whilst committing the crime. In addition the statistics are not overwhelmingly condemning alcohols as the main cause of violent crimes as the figures given are not that substantial. However this is my opinion which is subjective, as I believe that just over 50%of violent incidents being believed to be committed by individuals under the influence of crime is not compelling data. It could be that the data is not accurate, however if one were to look to the given the statistics they may just as well have the same thought trails as mine.

In addition, research carried out by “Alcohol Concern 2001” has found it difficult to confirm a link between alcohol and crime. Therefore, one is lead to ask, is alcohol really the main cause and effect, did the alcohol really aggravate the situation. As much as it is known that alcohol amplifies and enhances emotion of individuals as I looked at when looking into how alcohol alters the mind, it is not precise as to whether it is the case in every crime committed whilst intoxicated. This is as although the effects of alcohol are not variable the amount of alcohol taken and the tolerance to the alcohol is variable. Therefore two individuals having the same amount of alcohol in their body may not produce the same outcome as one of the individuals may have a higher resistance to the alcohol and so forth. However I would not eliminate all together the connection between alcohol and crime, especially violent incidents as I believe after looking at how alcohol can alter one’s mind and effects one mood it is undeniable that alcohol has the potential to be at least the enticer of many crimes. Although it would not be very accurate to state this as fact as the statistics looked upon do not present any compelling evidence relating to alcohol and crime. In addition where there is an incident where it is believed that alcohol is the substance at work causing the incident it may very well be not the case as there could be endless other factors causing the mayhem which go undetected leaving one to draw their conclusions on the alcohol in the individuals body. Henceforth it effectively remains indefinite as to whether alcohol is the enticer or the initiator of crime.


Kai Pernanen (1991). Alcohol in Human Violence. United Sates Of America: The Guildford Press. 24-36.

Coid J 1982. Alcoholism and violence. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 9: 1-13.

Rahul Nag. (2008). The Psychological Effects Of Alcohol. Available: http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Psychological-Effects-Of-Alcohol&id=1179178. Last accessed 04/08/2010.

Alcohol and Crime / Julia Vernon (ed.), Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, 1990, ISBN 0 642 14961 5; ISSN 1034-5086, (AIC conference proceedings; no. 1); pp. 7-13

Understanding Drugs, Alcohol and Crime, Trevor Bennett, Katy Holloway, (University of Glamorgan, Cambridge University, 2005, 9780335212576; pp. 18-23

Alcohol and Crime, Gavin Dingwall, Willan Publishing (UK), 2006, 1843921677; pp. 30-45


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