Sunday, May 31, 2020
Distortion 1: Drug Use After Prohibition Ends
Distortion 2: Drug Use Estimates
Distortion 3: Needle Exchange
Distortion 4: Harm Reduction
Distortion 5: Methadone Treatment
Distortion 6: Emergency Room Visits
Distortion 7: Gateway
Distortion 8: Ecstasy
Distortion 9: Cannabis As Medicine
Distortion10: Young People and Drugs
Distortion 11: Marijuana Potency
Distortion 12: Cannabis and Driving
Distortion 13: US Crime Rates
Distortion 14: Cannabis and Drug Treatment
Distortion 15: People Only Smoke Pot To Get High, Whereas They Drink Alcohol To Be Sociable
Distortion 16: ONDCP's 'Open Letter on Marijuana' & the AntiDrug Media Campaign
Distortion 17: Cannabis and Drug Treatment Part II
Distortion 18: Cannabis and Mental Illness
Special: NORML's Truth Report 2005, An Analysis & Response To The Drug Czar's Open Letter About Marijuana
Special: Debunking The Myths Chronic Pain & Opiods, by Frank Fisher, MD
Distortion 19: Estimating the Size of the Illicit Drug Market
Distortion 20: Methamphetamines
Distortion 21: US Crime Rates & Arrest Rates
Distortion 22: Marijuana & Violence
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The FBI issued its 2004 Uniform Crime Report on Oct. 17, 2005. Like other federal agencies, the FBI tries its best to spin the figures in the most favorable way. An examination of the data however reveals the truth.
The FBI stated in its news release of Oct. 17, 2005 ( "FBI Releases Crime Statistics For 2004"), "-According to statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and released today, from 2003 to 2004, the estimated volume of violent crime in the Nation declined 1.2 percent, and the estimated volume of property crime declined 1.1 percent. Further, the rate of violent crime estimated at 465.5 violent offenses per 100,000 in population decreased 2.2 percent, and the rate of property crime estimated at 3,517.1 property crimes per 100,000 inhabitants decreased 2.1 percent."
These are only reported crimes. The total number of crimes estimated to have been committed in 2004 is actually much higher. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in Sept. 2005 ( "Criminal Victimization, 2004") that "In 2004 U.S. residents age 12 or older experienced an estimated 24 million violent and property victimizations, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). (See Survey methodology, page 11.) These criminal victimizations included an estimated 18.6 million property crimes (burglary, motor vehicle theft, and theft), 5.2 million violent crimes (rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault), and 224,000 personal thefts (pocket picking and purse snatching)." (p. 1) As logically murder victims cannot respond to surveys, murders have been excluded from that count.
Put another way, as BJS reported that "During 2004, 50% of all violent victimizations and 39% of all property crimes were reported to the police. The percentage of violent crime reported differed among the specific types of crime. Robbery (61%) and aggravated assault (64%) were most frequently reported to police. Thirty-six percent of victims who experienced rape/sexual assault and 45% of the victims experiencing simple assault indicated that their victimization had been reported to the police. Motor vehicle theft continued to be the property crime most frequently reported to the police (85%). Fifty-three percent of burglaries and 32% of household thefts were reported to the police in 2004." (p. 10)
The FBI in its new report tried to respond to and mollify complaints that drug enforcement and juvenile justice authorities focus too harshly on communities of color. Thus, they reported in the UCR that "This report shows that the volume of juvenile arrests for drug abuse violations involving all drug types, collectively, increased 22.9 percent from 1994 to 2003. When an individual is arrested for a drug abuse violation, the reporting agency indicates the type of drug in one of four categories: opium or cocaine and their derivatives, marijuana, synthetic narcotics, and dangerous nonnarcotic drugs. The number of arrests of juveniles for three of the four drug types increased, except for opium or cocaine, which decreased 50.9 percent. In 1994, 60.6 percent of juveniles arrested for drug abuse violations were white; however, by 2003, that number had risen to 74.9 percent."
These figures are horribly misleading. The UCR program has long been criticized for failing to account for people of Hispanic/Latin American ethnicity. It is perfectly plausible to presume that many of these so-called "white" juveniles were in fact Hispanic.
The figures which most clearly point out the failure of law enforcement policies are the so-called "clearance" rates. According to the FBI, "In the UCR Program, a law enforcement agency reports that an offense is cleared by arrest, or solved for crime reporting purposes, when at least one person is: Arrested. Charged with the commission of the offense. Turned over to the court for prosecution (whether following arrest, court summons, or police notice)." The UCR for 2004 reports that "In 2004, law enforcement agencies in the United States cleared 46.3 percent of violent crimes (murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) and 16.5 percent of property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) brought to their attention. In addition, law enforcement cleared 17.1 percent of arson offenses, which are reported in a slightly different manner than the other property crimes."