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The patchwork of alcohol-free zones and alcohol-prohibited areas in New South Wales (Australia)

Daren G. Fisher (Department of Criminal Justice at the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA)
Phillip Wadds (School of Arts and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, Kensington, Australia)
Garner Clancey (Law School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

Safer Communities

ISSN: 1757-8043

Article publication date: 24 January 2018

Issue publication date: 20 March 2018




Developing policies to curb public alcohol consumption is a priority for governments. In the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), local governments have introduced alcohol-free zones (AFZs) and alcohol-prohibited areas (APAs) to prohibit the public consumption of alcohol and reduce crime stemming from intoxication. Previous studies, however, argue that these policies are driven by stakeholder desire rather than alcohol-related crime and may result in increased criminal justice contact for vulnerable populations. The purpose of this paper is to estimate the number of AFZs and APAs in NSW and examine the extent to which these policies are connected to the frequency of alcohol-related crime.


Examining the 152 local government areas (LGAs) of NSW, the authors analysed whether the implementation of AFZs and APAs were linked to the frequency of liquor offences and assaults using group-based trajectory models.


The authors found that AFZs and APAs were often not advertised nor inconsistently implemented both across and within jurisdictions. Group-based trajectory models indicated that AFZs were more common in low liquor offence LGAs than high liquor offences LGAs, but were more frequently implemented in high assault LGAs compared to low assault LGAs. APAs were more common in the lowest crime LGAs compared to those LGAs that experienced higher levels of recorded crime.


These analyses demonstrate how widespread AFZs and APAs have become and provides evidence that the implementation of is only tenuously linked to the frequency of crime.



Fisher, D.G., Wadds, P. and Clancey, G. (2018), "The patchwork of alcohol-free zones and alcohol-prohibited areas in New South Wales (Australia)", Safer Communities, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 94-102.



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