UC Riverside

Robert Nash Parker


Availability of Drugs and Alcohol Closely Linked to Prevalence of Social and Behavioral Problems

UCR Professor of Sociology Robert Nash Parker is one of the nation’s foremost leaders in documenting the connection between drugs and alcohol and the prevalence of crime, violence and anti-social behaviors.

Reduce Gang Violence by Keeping Alcohol Away from Underage Drinkers

Over two decades, Robert Nash Parker has authored more than 40 scientific articles and chapters on the relationships between drugs, alcohol, violence and crime, as well as on research methods in the social sciences.

The co-director of the Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies, his publications include “Alcohol and Homicide: A Deadly Combination of Two American Traditions.”

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Dr. Robert Nash Parker

Working with two graduate students, Parker used Geographical Information System (GIS) technology and found that the higher the density of alcohol outlets within a geographic area, the more likely the area was to be plagued by gang violence. The research grew out of a 12-year gang-intervention project in Riverside and used data provided by the Riverside Police Department.

Parker also studied accounts of gang behavior from other researchers and found a strong link between alcohol use and gang behavior. Alcohol use and abuse  frequently is a precursor to violent behavior performed in service to a gang, and often involves underage drinking. He hypothesizes that blocking access to alcohol for young people could short-circuit the process of getting prepared for a violent gang-related encounter.

Parker believes that better enforcement of laws that outlaw underage drinking could play an important, if unorthodox, role in fighting gang crime.

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