Alaska legalizes pot, crime explodes in Anchorage

In February of 2015, it became legal to grow and consume marijuana in Alaska.  And, as has happened in Denver and Seattle, crime immediately began to increase after being stable or declining in the pre-legal pot era.

According to the FBI's Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report for the first six months of 2015, the number of violent crimes in Anchorage (the only city reporting for Alaska) increased 34% compared to the same period in 2014.  Murders were up 167%, and aggravated assaults increased 32% versus the first six months of 2014.

The increase in violent crimes that occurred at the same time pot was legalized is striking.  Between 2006 and 2014, the number of violent crimes was stable.  Once marijuana legalization took place in early 2015, the crime rate went up dramatically.

Note that the extrapolated data for 2015 is likely to be a reasonable approximation (full 2015 data will be released by the FBI later this year), perhaps even an underestimate.  In 2014, there were 1,209 violent crimes during the first half of the year and 2,605 for the entire year – meaning an extrapolation using the first six months of the year yields an annual estimate that is 93% of the actual value.  One assumes that this approach should apply to 2015 as well.

Channel 2 KTUU out of Anchorage reports that the 2015 "spike in Anchorage's murder rate along with other violent crime underscores why more patrol officers and detectives are needed on the streets, according to police, victims' advocates, union officials and city promoters."

More police are needed, along with a repeal of Alaska's legal marijuana experiment.  The relatively small tax revenues from legalized weed do not come close to offsetting the corresponding economic and social costs.

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