NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Drug Arrests Increase, Violent Crime Falls

October 6, 1997

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's latest crime report shows that while serious crime has dropped for the fifth straight year, the number of drug-related arrests grew 35 percent between 1990 and 1995.

  • In 1995, nearly 1.5 million people were arrested for drug-related offenses -- the largest number ever recorded.
  • However, every category of violent crime reported to the FBI in 1996 fell to the lowest level in eight years
  • Reports of serious crime dropped for the fifth consecutive year in 1996 -- and included a 9 percent decline in the nation's murder rate.
  • From 1992 to 1992, homicides were down 20 percent; rapes fell 16 percent; robberies were off 23 percent; and aggravated assaults declined by 12 percent.

The report noted that although federal police agencies spend about $16 billion every year to combat drug trafficking, the trends for overall drug arrests show "no signs of abating."

Drug arrests during the 15 years studied by the report rose 173 percent among adults and 73 percent among juveniles.

Source: Kevin Johnson, "Serious Crime Drops For the Fifth Year," USA Today, October 6, 1997.


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