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NCJ Number: 155882 Find in a Library
Title: Drug Selling and Licit Income in Distressed Neighborhoods: The Economic Lives of Street-Level Drug Users and Dealers (From Drugs, Crime, and Social Isolation: Barriers to Urban Opportunity, P 99-146, 1992, Adele V Harrell and George E. Peterson, eds.)
Author(s): J Fagan
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 48
Sponsoring Agency: Urban Institute Press
Washington, DC 20037
Sale Source: Urban Institute Press
2100 M Street., NW
Washington, DC 20037
United States of America
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the economic and social organization of street-level drug selling in Washington Heights and Central Harlem, two New York City poverty areas that have experienced different degrees of structural change since 1970.
Abstract: The contrast of these neighborhoods permitted an analysis of the effects of neighborhood change and structure on participation in drug selling and its consequences for residents who were active in the local drug industry. Critical questions in the research involved whether the growth of drug markets in an area of declining licit economic activity led to the siphoning of well-educated and employed people into the informal and illicit drug economy and spurred entry into other criminal activities. The study sample was constructed to represent patterns of crack, cocaine, heroin, and polydrug (primarily marijuana) drug use and selling; it included arrestees who were awaiting initial court appearances. Interviews revealed that violence in drug selling was associated with the extent of the selling group's formal organization. The association between drug selling and nondrug crime suggested that participation in systemic violence was part of a pattern of generalized crime. Group drug sellers were more active criminally than independent drug sellers and nonsellers, and male drug sellers were more active than female drug sellers. Earnings from drug selling exceeded earnings from legitimate work by a wide margin. Legal labor market participation competed with the alternatives of drug selling and criminal activity. There was a paradoxical relationship between the social and economic health of study neighborhoods and the social organization and economics of drug selling. The local drug economy seemed to be a function of political decisions and economic forces that extended well beyond the borders of a single neighborhood. Supplemental study data are appended. 71 references, 21 footnotes, and 14 tables
Main Term(s): Drug law offenses
Index Term(s): Cocaine; Crack; Drug Related Crime; Economic analysis of crime; Economic influences; Heroin; Male female offender comparisons; Marijuana; New York; Social organization; Urban area studies; Urban criminality; Violent crimes
Note: DCC
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