The crime statistics out of Colorado exhibit significant recent increases in a number of offences

March Data Show Denver’s Post-Pot Legalization Crime Rate Still High

By —— Bio and Archives--April 16, 2014

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With the Denver Police Department’s release of its crime statistics for March 2014, the higher post-pot legalization crime rates in the Mile-High City roll on.

The dataset up to February 2014 showed massive increases in some reported offenses such as simple assault, intimidation, disorderly conduct/disturbing the peace, family offences/nonviolent, liquor law/drunkeness, violation of a restraining/court order, and criminal trespassing during January and February 2014 when compared to the same timeframe in 2013, as well as when compared to all available years back to 2009. A closer look at the monthly crime datasets for Denver since January 2009 indicates that the skyrocketing crime rates for these offenses began in May 2013, coinciding with the Colorado legislature passing bills regulating the manufacture, sale, distribution, and use of recreational marijuana in the state. The bills were signed into law later in the month. At the same time, these crime rates went through the roof.

The Denver crime data for selected offences during January through March of each year dating back to 2009 (the start of the online database) is shown in the table below. In all cases, the crime rate during 2014 is significantly higher than in any and all previous years, increasing by up to 3,000% above the 2009-2013 average.

Even drug and narcotics violations are way up, which is notable. After ranging between 402 and 540 for the January-March periods of 2009 through 2013—and averaging 486, they increased 28% over this five-year average up to 624 in the first three months of 2014.

The monthly data going back to January 2009 for these offenses clearly highlights the May 2013 start of the higher crime rates, coinciding perfectly with the month during which the Colorado legislature and the governor passed and signed the marijuana legalization bills.

Whether these increased rates are a result of higher background occurrences or stepped-up enforcement by the police, or both, cannot be distinguished at this point. However, they are undoubtedly a product of pot legalization in Colorado.

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Sierra Rayne -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Sierra Rayne holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry and writes regularly on environment, energy, and national security topics. He can be found on Twitter at @srayne_ca

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