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Crime rates lower when prices of drugs do states study

Politicians and a lot of law individuals would have individuals think that disposing of all narcotics would solve almost all prob-lems of crime. That said, an academic paper, from John Jay University, by anthropologists has found that making drugs cheaper could be the solution as crime rates rise and fall along with the prices of street narcotics. Resource for this article: Study suggests lower price of drugs leads to less crime

Checking out crime rates

Law enforcement would sug-gest, as reported by CBS, the huge drop in crime in the early 1990s was due to “more effective policing.” It is clear that this drop occurred and was shown in large cities such as New York City quite a bit. The Daily Mail reports that a report called “More Narcotics, Less Crime” was done by anthropologists at John Jay University who suggest that the drop in crime was due to a decrease in the price of drugs. Since the 1980s, the cost of cocaine, heroin and other hard drugs has gone down a ton. That means people do not need to commit crime to get the cash needed to cover their drugs anymore. Crime has gone down with more drug usage.

Reagan administration narcotic policy change Heroin and cocaine exports in-creased quite a bit under the Reagan administration, which was one of the biggest factors, as reported by the Atlantic. Reagan started a drug policy, focusing on Weed, stepping up law enforcement. Since cannabis was the primary focus, the other drugs started flowing in more freely.

The prices of heroin, crack and cocaine tumbled. In the mid-1980s, one gram of pure cocaine cost up to $460; by 2000, it had fallen to less than $200. Comparable drops in drug pric-es were observed in heroin prices; in 1984, 0.4 grams of pure heroin cost $1,072; in 2007, the same amount cost $345.90, almost two-thirds less.

Along with the drop in cost was a drop in crimes. Assaults in NYC in 1988 were 966.9 per 100,000 individuals. In 2007, the assault rate was 332 per 100,000, a nearly identical decline.

Could be other reasons

The report indicates that “there is a virtual industry” which explains why violent crime and property crime have dropped so much in the 1990s. The Bureau of Justice Statistics said that crimes committed by about 17 percent of prisoners in 2004 were done for drug cash. The New York Daily News published an article in 2009 though that indicates the drop is due more to medication for mental diseases. Individuals with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder and other disorders are now less likely to commit crimes because they are in a better state. The medication to fix these issues has caused a drop in crime.

University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt, co-author of the “Freakonomics” books, controversial-ly asserted that legalized abortion in the 1970s led to more women whose children would be at the greatest risk of becoming career crooks having abortions. Thus, fewer kids that would have been criminals were being born.

Sources CBS:


Daily Mail:


The Atlantic:


New York Daily News:


More Drugs, Less Crime (PDF - Requires Adobe Reader):



Dec 23, 2011
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Quite an interesting report! There may just be a direct correlation as the studies suggest between lower crime rates and an easier accessibility to drugs--hmm. Thanks for sharing.


What is the point of your blog? Are you promoting the legalization of drugs? If you are what does that look like to you? Where can these drugs be purchased? Advertised? Age limits? If marijuana is legalized should people be allowed to grow their own or have to go somewhere to buy it? Would legalization of drugs stop the underground market or would it just force dealers to match government prices?

After drugs are legal would that end drug induced psychotic crimes? Or addict on addict crimes? Would indigents get free drugs? Is treatment offered to those that no longer want to consume drugs?

Yes, Reagan famously picked up where Nixon left off with the “war on drugs” and every administration since has followed that path. That path has led to an estimated 75 billion dollar budget for 2012 to stop people from using drugs.. There needs to be an emotional free conversation about the facts of drugs. Who it hurts, who can really be helped, and what it costing this country financially to seek our drug users, process them through the criminal justice system and then house them.

The legalization debate about drugs is much more complex than just waking up and saying crime would stop if drugs were suddenly legal. What about the difference between heroin and marijuana? I am here for a serious conversation about things like this. I really do want to hear what you think...Thanks


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Jan 1, 2012
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Well done report. I haven't checked your reported sources and am taking them at face value. I would proffer that history is a good source of proof for backing your topic. With the introduction of Prohibition crime syndicates took over much of US government and accounted for a 75% escalation in violent crime, illegal narcotics sales, alcohol and gambling as well as prostitution and a host of penny-ante crimes. Once prohibition was lifted the mobs were nearly wiped out and certainly their influence over public government and law enforcement was neutralized. In Rhode Island prostitution was legal from 1980 until 2009. Nevada is the only state that prostitution is currently legal and that is only in (8) counties. In a study done of Newark, New Jersey pros 57% were found to be HIV positive.

My point is simple it would be nice if the whole world were moral and ethical and did not participate in such behavior but that is not the case. How many men and women here in DB were bouncing from boyrfriend to girlfriend as teens of coeds?

I also believe these hold true in the drug trade. The US has been seriously combatting illicit drug use since 1928 and have not made a single in road in the violent crime, addiction or pervasiveness of illegal drug use. Prostitution and narcotics are a global issue and are handled in many European countries by legalizing and controlling the sale, distribution and monitoring the health of prostitutes, collecting sales taxes and use taxes on drugs and crime rates associated with these two operations are marketedly lower.

If you want to cheat on your spouse society says, "ah, that's okay. You're life do what you want." As soon as a dollar bill appears in the equation then there is a 180 degree change in attitude and tactics. The St. Valentines Day Massacre of 14 February 1929 was over the hijacking of booze shipments destimed for Al Capone's Speak Easy's by members of Bugs Moran's gang. Seven men lined up and Tommy gunned to death by gangsters dressed as police officers.

You know experimentation on a limited basis would be a good way to start a change in how America battles illicit drug and prostitution. Legalize both in an state or two test it for a few years and see if there is a quantitative difference. This is an area where good old fashioned law enforcement and long term prision sentences mean nothing and have NOT deterred thses two crimes at all. They have merely cost many lives of officers, innocent bystanders, users and prostitutes that are forced, in some cases to work dangerous streets with rabid "Johns" as their bosses.

I think it is time to change tactices and psychology to battle the crime and cut our costs and even boost revenues of federal and state localities by doing so.


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Jan 7, 2012
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What that is basically saying, is that if we give in and give criminals what they want, crime will drop becuase what they are doing is no longer a crime... of course crime rates would drop. But i dont think that setting the precedent of giving into crminals simply to drop the crime rate is a good idea...
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