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Crack and Homicide in New York City, 1988: A Conceptually Based Event Analysis

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1990
37 pages
P A Bellucci, H H Brownstein, P J Goldstein, P J Ryan
Homicide data form New York City in 1988 show that most homicides were sytemically related to crack cocaine distribution and that crack has displaced other drugs in the social contexts in which drug selling occurs and in which violence and homicide are most likely to occur.
The analysis rested on a conceptual framework in which drugs and violence were viewed as related in three ways: psychopharmacologically, economically, and systemically. The analysis focused on 414 homicides in selected precincts between March 1 and October 31, 1988. The homicides involved 491 perpetrators and 431 victims. About 45 of the homicides occurred in the street, and 35 percent took place in residences, mainly the victim's residence. Sixty-eight percent of the homicides involved firearms, usually handguns. Twenty-nine percent of the perpetrators and 34 percent of the victims were drug traffickers, usually low-level traffickers. Further analysis indicated that 52.7 percent of the homicide events were drug-related. Thirty-nine percent of the homicides were systemic in that they involved territorial disputes, assaults to collect debts, robberies of drug dealers, and similar circumstances. Sixty-percent of the drug-related homicides involved crack, and cocaine in some form was the main drug in about 84 percent of the drug-related homicides. Findings also support earlier findings that drug users are more likely to finance their drug use by working in the drug business than by engaging in violent predatory thefts. 47 references.
Date Created: December 30, 1990