Narcotics–especially heroin and marijuana–are likely the cause of violent crime increases being experienced in some U.S. cities, criminologist Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University said yesterday. “When you see a major increase in violence, it is often associated with the emergence of a new drug market and the turf battles associated with those emerging markets,” Blumstein said. He said future crime trends hinge largely on the rise and fall of drug markets and availability of jobs for young men.
Blumstein spoke at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City at the Harry F. Guggenheim Symposium, “Changing the View of Crime in America: The Public’s Understanding.” Another speaker, Ramiro Martinez Jr. of Florida International University, made the case that Latino immigrants have become “convenient scapegoats” for crime as part of “immigration hysteria” in America. He noted that crime has dropped precipitously since 1980, when the modern wave of Hispanic and Asian immigration began.