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Bringing Back Street-Level Heroin Enforcement (From Drugs and Crime: Workshop Proceedings, P 210-241, 1987, Jeffrey A Roth et al, eds. -- See NCJ-106414)

NCJ Number
M A R Kleiman
Date Published
42 pages
Street-level heroin enforcement can reduce the frequency of nondrug crimes, drug consumption, and perceived disorder in drug-dealing areas as well as enhance police-community relations.
Although drug law enforcement has focused on high-level heroin dealers, this has not changed the number or behavior of retail dealers, who seek out new supply sources when their old suppliers have been arrested. By curtailing the heroin supply through high-level enforcement, the heroin price rises. Street-level enforcement, on the other hand, is likely to impact the number, behavior, and location of retail dealers rather than heroin's price. A shrinking retail market created by increased retail enforcement means more risk and less revenue for the dealer and more hassle and less chance of a buy for the user. This reduces drug consumption and the need to commit property crime for resources to buy drugs. Crime control effects include incapacitation, a perceived police presence on the streets, and the disruption of the stolen goods market. Case studies of retail heroin enforcement in Lynn, Mass., and Manhattan's Lower East Side indicate that the aforementioned effects were achieved. Issues to be addressed in such an enforcement policy are displacement, case outcomes, operational scale and duration, the demand on other public services, and civil liberties and community relations.


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