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NCJ Number: 49984 Find in a Library
Title: UNINTENDED EFFECTS OF POLICE DECISIONS TO ACTIVELY ENFORCE LAWS - IMPLICATIONS FOR ANALYSIS OF CRIME TRENDS
Journal: CONTEMPORARY CRISES  Volume:2  Issue:3  Dated:(JULY 1978)  Pages:265-275
Author(s): J F SHELEY; J J HANLON
Corporate Author: Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co
Netherlands
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co
1000 Ah Amsterdam, Netherlands
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: TO UNDERSTAND POSSIBLE UNINTENDED EFFECTS OF POLICE DECISIONS TO ENFORCE CERTAIN LAWS ACTIVELY, A CITY'S ANTIHEROIN CAMPAIGN WAS OBSERVED IN TERMS OF ITS EFFECTS ON MARIHUANA ARREST RATES DURING THE SAME PERIOD.
Abstract: THE STUDY WAS CONDUCTED IN AN UNNAMED NORTHERN CITY WITH A POPULATION OF 200,000, ORIGINALLY AN INDUSTRIAL AND TRANSPORTATION CENTER. ITS POPULATION IS ABOUT 95 PERCENT WHITE AND PREDOMINANTLY WORKING CLASS. NARCOTICS AGENTS IN THE CITY LAUNCHED A CAMPAIGN AGAINST HEROIN TRAFFIC, BEGINNING IN JULY 1974 AND TERMINATING IN DECEMBER 1974. DATA WERE OBTAINED FROM NEWS MEDIA REPORTS; STATISTICS FOR HEROIN AND MARIHUANA ARRESTS FOR 6-MONTH PERIODS BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE CAMPAIGN; AND INTERVIEWS WITH CITY OFFICIALS AND MEMBERS OF THE POLICE NARCOTICS UNIT. THE CAMPAIGN PRODUCED 24 MORE DRUG ARRESTS THAN OCCURRED DURING THE 6 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE CAMPAIGN. NINETY-EIGHT ARRESTS WERE MADE DURING THE CAMPAIGN, ONLY A NINE-PERCENT INCREASE. MOST ARRESTS WERE FOR POSSESSION OF MARIHUANA. ALTHOUGH MARIHUANA ARRESTS DECLINED BY 35 PERCENT AFTER THE CAMPAIGN, THE NUMBER OF ARRESTS AND THE RATIO OF MARIHUANA TO HEROIN ARRESTS REMAINED ABOVE PRECAMPAIGN LEVELS. STUDY RESULTS SUGGEST LESS CRITICISM THAN ELABORATION OF THE LABELING-CONFLICT PERSPECTIVE, WHICH EMPHASIZES SOCIETY'S OR, MORE APPROPRIATELY, THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM'S ACTIVITIES AS THE MAJOR ELEMENT IN THE PRODUCTION OF CRIME RATES AND CRIMINAL POPULATIONS. HOWEVER, NOT ALL ARRESTS SIGNAL POLICE AND PUBLIC CONCERN ABOUT THE OFFENSES FOR WHICH THE ARRESTS OCCUR. AS THIS RESEARCH DEMONSTRATED, MANY INDIVIDUALS ARE ARRESTED AND LABELED CRIMINALS AS AN UNINTENDED RESULT OF POLICE ATTEMPTS TO ENFORCE LAWS AGAINST BEHAVIORS OTHER THAN THOSE FOR WHICH THE INDIVIDUALS ARE ARRESTED. SUPPORTING STUDY DATA AND NOTES ARE INCLUDED. (DP)
Index Term(s): Arrest statistics; Drug abuse; Drug detection; Drug law enforcement; Drug law offenses; Drug laws; Drug offenders; Heroin; Marijuana
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=49984

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