Article by Libertarian National Committee member Dan Karlan at Liberty for All:
1. Make our streets and homes safer.
Estimates vary widely for the proportion of violent and property crime that is related to drugs, but one-third is a midpoint figure. In an October 1987 survey of 739 police chiefs by Wharton Econometrics for the U. S. Customs Service, the respondents “blamed drugs for a fifth of murders and rapes, a quarter of car thefts, two-fifths of robberies and assaults, and half the nation’s burglaries and thefts.”
The link between drugs and crime is well established. Cracking down on drugs increases crime. In a 30-month study of crime in Detroit, Lester P. Silverman, former associate executive director of the National Academy of Sciences’ Assembly of Behavioral and Social Sciences, found that a 10 percent increase in the price of heroin alone “produced an increase of 3.1 percent in total property crimes in poor nonwhite neighborhoods.” The same price increase caused armed robbery to jump 6.4 percent and simple assault 5.6 percent throughout the city.
The reasons are not difficult to understand. When law enforcement restricts the supply of drugs, the price of drugs rises. In 1984, a kilogram of cocaine worth $4000 in Colombia sold for $30,000 wholesale, and $300,000 retail, in the United States. At the time a Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman noted, matter-of-factly, that the wholesale price had doubled in six months “due to crackdowns on producers and smugglers in Colombia and the U. S.” There are no statistics indicating how many more people were mugged or killed thanks to the DEA’s crackdown on cocaine.