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Clearance rates -- the number of cases solved, typically by the arrest of a suspect -- were falling for violent and property crimes in the two states before they authorized retail sales of marijuana late in 2012. The rates then improved significantly in Colorado and Washington while remaining essentially unchanged in the rest of the nation, according to the researchers' analysis of monthly FBI data from 2010 through 2015.
"Our results show that legalization did not have a negative impact on clearance rates in Washington or Colorado," said David Makin assistant professor in WSU's Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology "In fact, for specific crimes it showed a demonstrated, significant improvement on those clearance rates, specifically within the realm of property crime."
Month - Journal - Police - Quarterly - Researchers
Writing this month in the journal Police Quarterly the researchers said legalization created a "natural experiment" to study the effects of a sweeping policy change on public health and safety.
"If you think about our history, it's rare where you have something that is entirely illegal that then becomes legal," said Makin. "And we have an opportune moment to study to what extent that particular change had on society."
Citizens - States - Legalization - Proponents - Resources
Citizens in 12 states have voted on marijuana legalization and proponents in all of them have argued that it would let police reallocate resources to property and violent crimes. The Colorado measure specifically says it is "in the interest of the efficient use of law enforcement resources" while the Washington one says it "allows law enforcement resources to be focused on violent and property crimes."
The WSU study bears that out....
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