More Drug Enforcement, More Crime


A new study by LeMoyne College economists Edward Shepard and Paul Blackley, based on New York state data, finds that drug law enforcement is associated with increases in predatory crime. Possible explanations include diversion of law enforcement resources, violence generated by disruption of drug operations, and increased attraction to property crimes among people deterred from dealing drugs. "At a minimum," Shepard and Blackley conclude, "the empirical findings should raise serious questions about the effectiveness of drug enforcement as a crime control measure, and they suggest that significant social costs arise from existing approaches to drug control."

The study appears in the June issue of Social Science Quarterly. If you don't want to pay for access to the full text, you can read an earlier draft for free here.

[Thanks to NORML's Allen St. Pierre for the tip.]