SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

September 24, 2013

Drug arrests top others

Latest statistics

Drug arrests dwarf those for other crimes

By Alan Johnson THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

While violent crimes showed a slight uptick for the first time in six years across the U.S. in 2012, drug arrests continued to dominate the Ohio and national crime picture.

There were more than four times as many arrests for drugs as violent crimes in Ohio last year — 26,936 to 6,236 — according to new Uniform Crime Reporting statistics released on Monday by the FBI. The report is compiled using statistics provided by more than 18,000 law-enforcement agencies across the country. Violent crimes include murder, voluntary manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and assault.

Violence has shock value in the report: A violent crime happened every 26 seconds, a rape every 6.2 minutes, and a murder every 35.4 minutes in the U.S. FBI Director James B. Comey noted in releasing the statistics that violent crime rose 0.7 percent last year.

  • But a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition also underlined numbers showing law enforcement made a drug arrest every 20 seconds and a marijuana arrest every 42 seconds. The group is composed of police, prosecutors, judges and others who argue that the U.S. is losing a lengthy, massive and costly war on drugs.
  • “These numbers represent a tremendous loss of human potential. Each one of those arrests is the story of someone who may suffer a variety of adverse effects from their interaction with the justice system,” said Neill Franklin, executive director of the group and a police officer for more than three decades.

“Every time a police officer makes an arrest for drugs, that’s several hours out of his or her day not spent going after real criminals ,” added Diane Goldstein, a retired police lieutenant commander.

  • Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has pushed hard for arrests for possession and sale of narcotic prescription pills, heroin, methamphetamines and synthetic drugs, but has not made a similar move against marijuana.

The FBI report showed that nationally, 80 percent of all drug arrests were for possession as opposed to sale or trafficking. There were 1,531,251 U.S. drug arrests, more than theft (1,264,986), and drunken driving (1,215,077).

Midwest law enforcement had the highest percentage of any region in marijuana-possession arrests compared with all drug arrests at 51.9 percent; the West had the lowest at 22.1 percent.

The full report is at http://tinyurl.com/lh88zks  .

ajohnson@dispatch.com

(My Comment:

One questions whether this use of our limited,  valuable  public service personnel is being best utilized.   Crime has risen as it always does when  hard times persist.   And its no secret that African-Americans are being more targeted than others which further adds to racial tensions and disenfranchisement  Ohio has had to live with far too much in the way of cut-backs to everything;  schools, libraries,  voting accommodations; the loss of the people’s voice due to political lines being redrawn to ever increasing advantage for the Republican party and so much more or should I say less?   Our governor likes to brag about our  fine Ohio economy and all the jobs he has brought here.    None of this is true.  He has sold off assets which he could wring cash out of; cut back prison staff while they burgeon to illegal overpopulation and  tortuous conditions.  We’ve had no less than three prisoners that I read about in the last few weeks who have hung themselves.  Gotta tell ya something.

As to the job picture, it  has been pathetic, with mostly minimum wage and  cutbacks  everywhere and for these hard times — downright  criminal. Everything, health clinics shut down, women’s health centers at a minimum and believe it or not, there’s talk of “stand-your-ground” law in the works.  When I came here in ’94, Ohio was a pretty nice state . . stuff changes. . .Jan)

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