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Defining the Drug Market: The Case of the Jersey City DMAP System

NCJ Number
D Weisburd; L Green; F Gajewski; C Bellucci
Date Published
40 pages
The Drug Market Analysis Program in Jersey City, New Jersey, was developed in response to concerns about the effectiveness of the police response to the drug problem; the intent of the program is to maintain a location-based information system that facilitates the identification of drug markets and allows an experimental evaluation of strategies to combat them.
Three data sources were used in developing a basic description of the distribution of drug markets: arrest information on sales events, drug phone-in, and location-based community survey. Arrest information was obtained from police records, citizens were given an opportunity to call in and identify drug locations in their areas, and survey respondents were asked to identify drug locations. In the community survey, only 5.9 percent of 3,601 citizens identified drug activity on their block, and an additional 8 percent identified a drug location off their block but still in their neighborhood. A process was devised to identify drug markets, based on active street segments and intersections, and the result produced 107 drug markets. Characteristics of drug markets were assessed in terms of drug type (cocaine, heroin, marijuana, PCP, mixed, and no drug defined), physical and demographic characteristics of city districts, resident demographics, and arrests. The drug market identification process facilitated an experimental evaluation of drug law enforcement strategies. This evaluation showed that the drug problem was concentrated in a relatively few discrete market areas of the city and that significant variations in drug markets occurred with respect to intensity, size, and social character. 12 references, 11 tables, and 2 figures

Date Published: January 1, 1992