College authorities have frequently made a call for a lowering of the legal drinking age, from the present 21 to 18. They believe that this could actually lower the rates of binge drinking and underage DUI, because students would be much less likely to drink when it is actually legal for them to do so. However, a new study finds that any move to lower the drinking age could actually have an impact on assault rates.
The study was published recently in the American Journal of Public Health. The researchers found that lowering the legal drinking age from the current 21 could actually increase criminal activity among younger people, including the risk of assault. The study was based on research conducted in New Zealand, where the legal drinking age was reduced to 18 in 1999. The study found that the number of assaults by young men between 15 and 19 actually increased after the lowering of the drinking age. According to the findings, when the researchers analyzed assault rates for people between the age of 15 and 19, they found that in the 15 to 17 and 20 to 21 age groups, the new minimum legal drinking age actually led to an increase in assault rates by as much as 20% after the new laws were passed.
According to the researchers, there have also been other studies that have shown that lowering the legal minimum drinking age could have a disastrous effect on criminal activity rates. Such increases in criminal activity among younger people have also been noticed in other countries, including the USA. The researchers believe that the liberalized access to alcohol in New Zealand and many parts of Europe, probably contributes to higher rates of assault and criminal activity involving young people.