to avoid violence. These agreements have apparently resulted in substantially reduced levels of violence in the neighborhoods to which they apply but not in reduced levels of drug sales.
Efforts to disrupt and reduce drug dealing have led to large increases in arrests, convictions, and incarcerations for drug law violations. State and local arrests for drug law violations rose from 676,000 in 1982 to 1,559,100 in 1998, an increase of 131 percent (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000). State and local arrests for the manufacture or sale of illegal drugs increased from 135,200 in 1982 to 330,500 in 1998, an increase of 144 percent. The number of convictions in state courts for felony drug trafficking increased from 165,430 to 212,504, or by 28 percent, between 1994 and 1996 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000). During the same period, the number of traffickers sentenced to incarceration increased from 116,938 to 154,977, or by 33 percent. Incarcerations for drug law violations have increased more rapidly than incarcerations for other offenses. Between 1980 and 1996, the number of persons incarcerated in state facilities for drug law violations increased by a factor of 12.3. By contrast, the numbers of persons incarcerated for violent crimes, property crimes, and public order offenses (e.g., weapons, vice, and drunk-driving offenses) increased by factors of 2.8, 2.7, and 5.7, respectively (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000). In addition to arrests and incarceration, police have used civil remedies to disrupt drug markets (Davis and Lurigio, 1996; Green, 1996). For example, police may pressure landlords to evict drug-dealing tenants or may use increased enforcement of housing codes, fire codes, and nuisance abatement laws to disrupt indoor drug markets without necessarily arresting their participants.
A reduction in the number of drug dealers presumably reduces drug consumption by making drugs more expensive and more difficult to obtain. The state of knowledge of the relations among drug prices, search costs, drug-use prevalence, and drug consumption is discussed in Chapter 2. This section discusses what is known about the effectiveness of law enforcement operations in reducing the number of retail drug dealers in a city. The key issues concern the incremental effects of a change in the level of enforcement or of specific law enforcement actions. In other words, one would like to know the answers to such questions as:
By how much would a specified increase in the aggressiveness of police activity (e.g., more stopping and searching of violators of antiloitering laws, more vigorous enforcement of housing codes, more undercover operations against retail drug markets) reduce the number of drug dealers in a city? Increase the difficulty (search cost) of finding drugs? Increase the price of drugs? Decrease drug consumption?