Study: Malt liquor could be factor in higher murder rates
St. Paul, Minn. — Malt liquor beverages and their store-front advertisements are far more prevalent in poor African American communities than in other ethnic neighborhoods.
A new study by the University of Minnesota says easy access to the high alcohol beer could be contributing to higher homicide rates in black communities.
Principle investigator Rhonda Jones-Webb said her findings do not prove that higher malt liquor exposure causes higher homicide rates. But she said the data does raise concerns for these neighborhoods.
"The findings do suggest that these neighborhoods do have a high concentration of outlets and that malt liquor is highly available and promoted and we should be concerned about it because of the effects of these types of beverages," Jones-Webb said.
Jones-Webb said malt beverages are associated with heavier drinking and aggressive behavior. She says that could contribute to higher homicide rates in African American communities.
"Living in a low-income black neighborhood you're not only more likely to be a victim of homicide, but have greater exposure to ads promoting these high alcohol-content beverages as well as greater access to them," she said.
Jones-Webb said her team would need to do another study looking at alcohol consumption data before it could prove a link between malt beverages and higher homicide rates.
Ten U.S. Cities were included in the U of M study, including Minneapolis and St. Paul.