As a physician and psychiatrist with experience in the rehabilitation of youthful offenders, I call on our community to rise to the task of meeting with the surge of assault and drunkenness on the part of our youth.
Statistics illustrate the problem: San Luis Obispo is only safer than 9 percent of all U.S. cities (“San Luis Obispo crime rates — NeighborhoodScout”). In 2010, there were 64 assaults and in 2014, 168 — more than double the rate (“Reports of rape, assault in SLO for 2014 were highest in the last decade,” June 6).
Cross-sectional data from 74 Los Angeles County cities reveal, “… higher alcohol outlet density is associated with a higher rate of assaultive violence. … 1 outlet was associated with 3.4 additional assaultive violent offenses” (“Do Liquor Stores Increase Crime and Urban Decay? Evidence from Los Angeles,” Bing-ru Teh, UC Berkeley).
To deal with this problem in public health most cogently, I recommend that our city council assemble a workshop of its elements: bar owners, students, faculty, citizens and police.
Strong persistent leadership is needed from the council to bring the community back to a state of health and its inherent vitality.
Joseph Abrahams, San Luis Obispo