Crime levels are five times higher in Dundee neighbourhoods with the most number of pubs and off-licences than those with the fewest, research has revealed.
A major academic study across Scotland has established a strong link between the number of booze outlets in an area and the prevalence of crime and alcohol-related deaths.
The trend has led to a call for a ban on new off-licences in Fife, which has seen the second biggest increase in successful new applications to sell drink in shops.
Dundee is one of the easiest parts of the country in which to buy alcohol, with residents having on average 21 places to do so within 800m of the centre of their local area, compared with the Scottish average of 17 outlets.
It also had the fifth worst alcohol-related death rate in the country.
Alcohol Focus Scotland carried out the study with the Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health (CRESH) at the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
It examined data for 6,976 neighbourhood areas across Scotland.
The charity wants to see tighter controls by licensing boards across Scotland.
Alison Douglas, the chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “This research highlights the clear relationship between the availability of alcohol and a range of serious problems suffered by communities across Scotland.
“We have long known that if we want to reduce the harm caused by alcohol, we must take action on how readily available it is.
“The implementation of minimum unit pricing will save the lives of hundreds of Scots but if we are to truly turn the tide of our alcohol problem, tackling availability must also be part of the mix.
“This new research should be used to help inform the Scottish Government’s next steps on alcohol prevention which are due to be published this summer.”
Across Courier Country there are 2,445 places to load up on drink.
All of the council areas in Tayside featured in the Scottish top 10 for the highest number of outlets, with Fife ranked 13th out of 30.
The kingdom has seen one of steepest rises in the number of off-sales licences granted – an extra 33 between 2012 and 2016, according to the study.
Tim Brett, the Lib Dem leader in Fife, said officials must call time on the expansion.
He said a “ban on further off-sales licences throughout the whole of Fife” should be “seriously considered”.
June Barrie, the legal services manager at Fife Council, said the licensing board is “currently considering whether there is over-provision of licensed premises in any locality in Fife as part of their review of licensing policy”, with an initial judgement likely next month.
Bill Bowman, the Scottish Conservative MSP, warned against any threat to existing off-licences, which he said have been an important feature of high streets for decades.
He called on Dundee City Council to “educate the community in the responsible use of alcohol and the pitfalls of overindulgence”.
A spokeswoman for the Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership said there is a policy in the city to “reduce alcohol availability in the city, thereby helping to reduce drinking levels, harm and health inequalities”.
Dundee and Angus councils say they are considering the findings of the study, which is published on Thursday.
A Dundee licensing board spokesman said they “recently passed a new over-provision policy which covers off-sales premises and was adopted following thorough consultation”.