We're curious to know your opinion: Do you think crime rates will go up with increased access to alcohol? How has this played out in other jurisdictions? Feel free to comment below, on our Facebook page or to our Twitter feed.
TORONTO, Dec. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - As millions of Ontarians venture out to buy beer, wine and liquor to entertain with this holiday season, some will think about the potential of making those purchases at a convenience store or gas station.
Yet new public opinion research1 shows that most Ontarians expect spikes in crime, alcohol abuse, drunk driving and underage drinking if sales are expanded.
"This is bad news for neighborhoods, bad news for families and bad news for Ontario," said Robert Edwards, President of UFCW Local 12R24, the Beer Store workers union.
Police share concerns about convenience store and gas station sales. Last week a report2 by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) showed that only 1.2% of students in grades 7-12 said they bought beer at The Beer Store; but 15.6 per cent of those students reported they purchase cigarettes at convenience stores and gas stations.
Ontario Provincial Police Association President Jim Christie said there is ample evidence3 in the U.S. demonstrating that when the number of retail outlets selling alcohol increases, violence and crime increases correspondingly.
"We support the current system which controls the sale and distribution of beer and liquor in the province of Ontario. The robust checks and balances which exist, serve the people of this province well," Christie said.
The survey also showed that 81 per cent of Ontarians feel there is already enough retail access to alcohol in the province and 85 per cent were satisfied with the current selection of brands in those outlets.