Drugs are the cause of all evils? Or drug prohibition? The following are some facts and views of the effects of alcohol / drug prohibitions on crimes and violence.
Prohibition (of alcohol) closely connected to the dangerous increase of crime
"The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the Prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this."
in "My First Impression of America", 1921
Prohibition (of alcohol and drugs) increased rates of homicide
The chart at the right illustrates the homicide rate in the United States from 1900 to 1998. It is important to note that each of the most violent episodes in this century coincide with the
prohibition on alcohol and the escalation of the modern-day war on drugs.
In 1933 the homicide rate peaked at 9.7 per 100,000 people,
which was the year that alcohol prohibition was finally repealed.
In 1980, the homicide rate peaked again at 10 per 100,000.
US Census Data and FBI Uniform Crime Report
"The data are quite consistent with the view that Prohibition at the state level inhibited alcohol consumption,
and an attempt to explain correlated residuals
by including omitted variables revealed that enforcement of Prohibitionist legislation
had a significant inhibiting effect as well.
Moreover, both hypotheses about the effects of alcohol and Prohibition are supported by the analysis.
Despite the fact that alcohol consumption is a positive correlate of homicide (as expected),
and its enforcement increased the homicide rate."
Jensen, Gary F, Prohibition, Alcohol, and Murder: Untangling Countervailing Mechanisms,
Homicide Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA, February 2000), p. 31.
Comparing European homicide rates to Russian and the States
"Since the definition of homicide is similar in most countries,
absolute comparisons of rates are possible.
For the period 1999 to 2001,
the average rate
(the number of homicides per 100,000 population)
was 1.6 in the EU with the highest rates in Finland (2.9),
Northern Ireland (2.7)
and Scotland (2.2). For the other countries,
the highest rates were found in Russia (22.1),
Estonia (10.6), Lithuania (10.6) and the USA (5.6)."
Barclay, Gordon & Cynthia Tavares, "International Comparisons of Criminal Justice Statistics 2001,"
Home Office Bulletin 12/03 (London, England, UK: Home Office Research,
Development, and Statistics Directorate, October 24, 2003), p. 3.
Findings of Prohibition (of alcohol) shows decriminalization would decrease violence
"Generalizing from the findings on Prohibition,
we can hypothesize that decriminalization would increase the use of the previously criminalized drug,
but would decrease violence associated with attempts to control illicit markets
and as resolutions to disputes between buyers and sellers.
Moreover, because the perception of violence associated with the drug market can lead people who are not directly involved to be prepared for violent self-defense,
there could be additional reductions in peripheral settings when disputes arise (see Blumstein & Cork, 1997; Sheley & Wright, 1996)."
Jensen, Gary F., "Prohibition, Alcohol, and Murder: Untangling Countervailing Mechanisms,"
Homicide Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA, February 2000), pp. 33-4
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