DEALogo DRCNet Response to the
Drug Enforcement Administration
Briefing Book

Crime, Violence & Demographics

DEA Statement Response
The United States is the undisputed leader among developed countries in rates of homicide, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Americans today stand a greater chance of being a victim of violent crime than of being injured in an auto accident. Through the flurry of statistics that every year proclaim either a rise or a fall in crime, several trends have remained constant. The reader will note that, once again, the DEA fails to properly distinguish the causes of violent crime.

Violent Drug Gangs

  • Since the late 1980s, domestic drug trafficking gangs are responsible for the vast majority of the violent drug trafficking that has transformed many of our cities and rural areas into virtual war zones.
Like alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, this is simply the natural result of prohibition and attempts to enforce it.
  • Today's gangs are violent and have grown from unstructured and undisciplined groups into sophisticated criminal organizations, threatening the safety of the general public.
Why?  Because of the tremendous profits in the prohibited drug trade.   It offers an easy path to riches for unscrupulous and violent people -- just like Al Capone in the 1920s.
  • They have no respect for life and no hesitation to shoot anyone who happens to get in their way.
Just like Al Capone in the 1920s.
  • The main reason for the proliferation of these gangs and their violence is drugs, particularly crack cocaine.
No, the main reason for the proliferation of these gangs and their violence is the tremendous profits which come from a prohibited drug trade -- just like Al Capone in the 1920s.
  • A few years ago, gang activity was limited to some of our major citiesprimarily Los Angeles, where the Crips and Bloods were household names. This gang problem that once had been confined to major cities has now spilled over into the rural areas and smaller cities of the United States. Smallbut no less viciousgangs routinely operate in rural areas, such a Vidalia, Georgia, where a violent crack gang of 40-50 members was linked to numerous homicides and drive-by shootings.
This is precisely the same sort of pattern that happened in the 1920s during alcohol prohibition and ultimately led to its repeal.  See, for example, Repealing National Prohibition.
  • The mobility of violent drug gangs and the random nature of the violent crimes these predators commit have posed significant challenges to law enforcement in every state of the nation. The nature of the crimesdrive-by shootings, drug deals, and carjackings, which often occur at nightmakes it more difficult for police to solve. There are often few witnesses and few clues beyond a corpse and a handful of bullet casings.
Just like Al Capone in the 1920s.
  • The core of their violence is related to protecting and expanding the gang's lucrative drug trade. Consequently, because many of these gangs control their territory through intimidation and murder, citizens in the community are often afraid to come forward and cooperate with the police.
Just like Al Capone in the 1920s.
  • DEA's commitment to controlling violent crime stems from the overwhelming number of crimes per year that are drug related. The most recent national surveys show that more than one third of all violent acts committed and almost half of all murders are drug related. According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, 23,326 Americans were murdered in 1994.
Again, what the DEA fails to tell you is that the "drug-related" murders stem from two primary causes:

1) alcohol

2) the tremendous profits from the illegal drug trade -- a direct result of an unsuccessful prohibition.

See Psychoactive Substances and Violence, by the US Department of Justice.



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