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April 16, 2014

Denver reporting notable 2014 crime reduction since legal pot sales started

As this MSNBC article highlights, new data from Denver shows a notable decrease in crime over the first quarter of 2014.  Here are the encouraging details:

Three months after Colorado residents legalized recreational marijuana with the passage of Amendment 64 in Nov. 2012, Sheriff Tom Allman of Mendocio County, Calif. – a haven for marijuana growers – warned that an onslaught of crime was headed toward Colorado. “Thugs put on masks, they come to your house, they kick in your door. They point guns at you and say, ‘Give me your marijuana, give me your money,’” Allman told a Denver TV station in February....

But a new report contends that fourteen years later, even after Colorado legalized the sale of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use on Jan. 1 of this year, violent and property crime rates in the city are actually falling.

According to data from the Denver Police Department, violent crime (including homicide, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault) fell by 6.9% in the first quarter of 2014, compared with the same period in 2013. Property crime (including burglary, larceny, auto theft, theft from motor vehicle and arson) dropped by 11.1%.

A study looking at the legalization of medical marijuana nationwide, published late last month in the journal PLOS ONE, found that the trend holds: Not only does medical marijuana legalization not correlate with an uptick in crime, researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas argue it may actually reduce it. Using statistics from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report and controlling for variables like the unemployment and poverty rates; per capita income; age of residents; proportion of residents with college degree; number of police officers and prisoners; and even beer consumption, researchers analyzed data from all 50 states between 1990 and 2006....

“The central finding gleaned from the present study was that MML (medical marijuana legalization) is not predictive of higher crime rates and may be related to reductions in rates of homicide and assault. Interestingly, robbery and burglary rates were unaffected by medicinal marijuana legislation, which runs counter to the claim that dispensaries and grow houses lead to an increase in victimization due to the opportunity structures linked to the amount of drugs and cash that are present.”

The study drew a link between marijuana and alcohol use, surmising that the legalization of pot could cause the number of alcohol-fueled crimes to decline. “While it is important to remain cautious when interpreting these findings as evidence that MML reduces crime, these results do fall in line with recent evidence and they conform to the longstanding notion that marijuana legalization may lead to a reduction in alcohol use due to individuals substituting marijuana for alcohol. Given the relationship between alcohol and violent crime, it may turn out that substituting marijuana for alcohol leads to minor reductions in violent crimes that can be detected at the state level.”

Of course, this is a limited set of data and correlation does not prove causation. But, at the very least, this early crime data certain provide more helpful evidence for supporters of drug law reforms who are eager to assert that it is not drugs but drug prohibition that contributes to crimes.

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Comments

If MJ is legal and inexpensive , why risk lack of opportunity (jailed for conviction of crime) to get pleasantly high , albeit hash is better ☺)

Also , defense and court costs for crime eat into to discretionary dollars that can be used to lawfully purchase MJ.

Posted by: Docile Jim Brady - Columbus OH 43209 | Apr 16, 2014 10:19:50 AM

or

| Drug problems increase after pot legalization, police say |
Feb 5, 2013 | 9news.com
DENVER - Some elected officials in nearby states blame Colorado for an increase in marijuana trafficking and want Colorado to foot the bill
for prosecuting marijuana crimes in their states.
9Wants to Know rode along, exclusively, with Howard's team for several days as they set up buys from illegal Colorado marijuana dealers.
On one deal, an undercover officer asked a dealer if he has a limit to the amount of pot he could provide. The undercover officer told
the dealer she wanted to take marijuana to Wyoming."Oh I don't have a limit," Kevin Lei responded.

| Has Legalized Marijuana Sparked A Crime Wave? |
By Katie Rucke
February 7, 2014 | Mintpressnews.com

Everyone in the industry is having nightmares,” said Michael Elliott, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, a Colorado based lobby group.
Mitch Morrissey, district attorney for Denver, [said] …
“We have had 12 homicides related directly to medical marijuana,”Morrissey said this past August.
“We have had over 100 aggravated robberies and home invasions. Many of you probably didn’t read about the double-execution-style homicide
that we had here in Denver, where people were laid down on the floor and executed because they were running a medical marijuana outlet.”

… According to an NBC News report, the Denver Police Department estimated in 2009 that about 17% of marijuana retail shops had been robbed or burglarized,
which was slightly less than liquor stores (20%) … A recent analysis of crime affecting Denver’s 325 marijuana companies by Marijuana Business Daily, a leading
trade publication, found the current annual robbery and burglary rate of dispensaries is now around 50%, which is more than double what it was in 2009.

Posted by: Adamakis | Apr 16, 2014 11:17:50 AM

| Denver woman shot dead while on phone with dispatcher for 13 minutes|
Published April 16, 2014
FoxNews.com

KDVR.com reported that Kristine Kirk, a mother of three, was shot after her husband, Richard, was talking about the end of the world
and asking her to shoot him. She refused, and police said he shot her.
Sources say Richard Kirk, the husband and father, was hallucinating after possibly ingesting edible marijuana . During the 911 call,
Kristine Kirk told the dispatcher that her husband was “talking about the end of the world and he wanted her to shoot him.”

He had no violent history, the report said.

Posted by: Adamakis | Apr 16, 2014 11:46:17 AM

Or there's one of the more obvious alternate causes: we've had one of the coldest winters in recent memory. Chicago also saw a huge drop in crime from January to March of this year--which happened to coincide with allowing CCW licenses in the city. I've warned my CCW friends not to pop the champagne cork just yet.

We'll have a better idea on how meaningful this trend (and Chicago's, among others) is when we get to July.

Posted by: Res ipsa | Apr 16, 2014 1:49:35 PM

All good additional info, Adamakis and Res ipsa, and I think we will need years of data before we can have any real sense of the relationship s between pot reforms and crime rates.

Posted by: Doug B. | Apr 16, 2014 2:10:14 PM

Is this good news that the crime rate has gone down, or bad news that now there will be pot addicts everywhere?

Posted by: Allison Williams Esq. | May 12, 2014 5:18:00 AM

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