Pot Legalization and Crime Rates in Denver, Colorado

Over at Ezra Klein's new site, Vox.com, German Lopez has an article claiming to show that Colorado's recent marijuana legalization experiment hasn't increased crime rates in Denver. In contrast, when we actually look at the raw data Lopez uses, the message isn't so clear. In fact, using Lopez's own methods, we might conclude pot legalization has dramatically increased crime in Denver. Lopez claims that “three months into its legalization experiment, Denver isn't seeing a widespread rise in crime.” To reach this conclusion, Lopez uses Denver's crime data (available here) for the months of January and February in 2013 and 2014. When I look at the data, I see some potentially different findings. Over the first two months of 2014, “simple assaults” in Denver are up an astonishing 70% over the same timeframe in 2013. The crime of “intimidation” is up 86%, and all “crimes against persons” have increased 32%...(Read Full Post)