Alcohol-related crime refers to criminal activities that involve alcohol use as well as violations of regulations covering the sale or use of alcohol; in other words, activities violating the alcohol laws. Underage drinking and drunk driving are the most prevalent alcohol‐specific offenses in the United States and a major problem in many, if not most, countries worldwide. Similarly, arrests for alcohol-related crimes constitute a high proportion of all arrests made by police in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Crime perpetrators are much more likely to be intoxicated than crime victims. Alcohol availability and consumption rates and alcohol rates are positively associated with nuisance, loitering, panhandling, and disorderly conduct in open spaces; domestic violence; as well as violent crimes, though specifics differ between particular countries and cultures. Research found that factors that increase the likelihood of alcohol‐related violence include difficult temperament, hyperactivity, hostile beliefs, history of family violence, poor school performance, delinquent peers, criminogenic beliefs about alcohol's effects, impulsivity, and antisocial personality disorder.
In the early 2000s, the monetary cost of alcohol-related crime in the United States alone has been estimated at over $205 billion, twice the economic cost of all other drug-related crimes. In a similar period in the United Kingdom, the cost of crime and its antisocial effects was estimated at £7.3 billion. Another estimate for the UK for yearly cost of alcohol-related crime suggested double that estimate, at between £8 and 13 billion. Risky patterns of drinking are particularly problematic in and around Russia, Mexico and some parts of Africa.
The relation between alcohol and violence is not yet fully understood, as its impact on different individual varies. While alcohol use correlates positively with crimes and violence, there is no simple, causal and direct relationship. Studies and theories of alcohol abuse suggest, among others, that use of alcohol likely reduces the offender's perception and awareness of consequences of their actions. The World Health Organization has noted that out of social problems created by the harmful use of alcohol, "crime and violence related to alcohol consumption" are likely the most significant issue.