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Geographic Analysis of Illegal Drug Markets (From Illegal Drug Markets: From Research to Prevention Policy, P 219-239, 2000, Mangai Natarajan and Mike Hough, eds. -- See NCJ-187694)

NCJ Number
Date Published
21 pages
Past research has established two important geographic principles concerning the retail sales of illicit drugs: (1) illegal drug markets tend to be spatially concentrated; and (2) the location and marketing characteristics of these markets vary depending on whether customers are local or regional.
In building on these principles, the current research determined whether the location of illegal drug markets in Wilmington, Delaware, could be predicted using variables that measured the relative size of the local demand and variables that measured accessibility to regional customers. Data were obtained from arrest records of the Wilmington Police Department for 1989, 1990, and 1991 in order to be comparable with 1990 census data. Data were analyzed to create a composite geographic-demographic profile of illegal drug sales locations. Results showed there were two clusters of census tracts that were within 1 mile of the most potential customers who were identified by the composite profile. The authors conclude that being able to predict advantageous locations for illegal drug sales from an economic and geographic marketing perspective can provide valuable information to both police and public policy planners. Policy implications of the geographic analysis of illegal drug markets are discussed, with emphasis on tactics to make open air drug markets less accessible to people who do not reside in the community and tactics focusing on local demand. 23 references, 2 tables, and 4 figures

Date Published: January 1, 2000