Map of Liquor Stores in Los Angeles County

We have examined the distribution of liquor stores in Los Angeles County. In our 1983-85 study of bus crime in west central Los Angeles, we documented one major intersection in Hollywood where there was a heavy of concentration of bars, adult book shops, massage parlors, liquor stores, game arcades, drug trading, prostitution, and transient hotels. A transit crime task force was established in 1985-86 to examine ways of improving security around dangerous bus stops. See the study report:

  • Ned Levine, Martin Wachs and Elham Shirazi, "Crime at Bus Stops: A Study of Environmental Factors". Journal of Architectural and Planning Research. 1986, 3(4): 339-361.

In subsequent work, we examined the concentration of liquor stores in Los Angeles County, using data from the 1987 Census of Retail Trade. The first map shows the distribution of liquor stores in 1987. The distribution of liquor stores is highly concentrated in the central core of the county, particularly in South Central Los Angeles. On the other hand, the population density of the central core is higher.

To correct for this, we calculate liquor store density. The second map shows liquor stores on a per capita basis. As seen, while there is still a higher concentration in the central core of Los Angeles County, the pattern is much more complex.Map of Liquor Store Density in Los Angeles County Many other areas of the county have a high concentration and many areas in South Central Los Angeles have low densities. This probably indicates that liquor stores are concentrated in commercial areas and that these distributed in certain locales. While liquor stores represent a major problem for poorer communities, the problem is exacerbated because there are relatively few other retail businesses. Consequently, liquor stores represent a higher proportion of businesses in low income communities.