Policing The Drinking Community: An Exploration of Community Alcohol Norms and Driving Under the Influence Enforcement (1985-2014)


Sociology and Criminal Justice

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Policing of driving under the influence (DUI) has varied widely over both time and place in the U.S. While some limited research has explored informal social norms and spatial variation in DUI enforcement, none have examined this phenomenon longitudinally. This is particularly important since public opinion about DUI and its enforcement has changed since the 1980’s. Thus, this project examines how structural factors associated with alcohol norms such as anti-alcohol religious populations, county prohibition of alcohol sales, and large universities with athletic programs are related to change in DUI enforcement from 1985—2014. The results indicate that pro-alcohol measures such as large universities and pro-alcohol religion are related to decreased DUI enforcement, and anti-alcohol religious population are associated with increased enforcement levels. Overall, these findings support the argument that the change in DUI enforcement may be conditioned by the informal norms relating to alcohol in each community.

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American Journal of Criminal Justice

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