(Denver Post file)

Ask The Cannabist: Staking out marijuana statistics in Colorado crime and DUID arrests

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Hey, Cannabist!
I noted an article after the sixth month of Colorado pot sales discussing 2014 sales, crime and other statistics. Has the downward slope in crime stats continued? What are the stats for drunk driving citations and accidents vs. stoned driving citations and accidents turning out to be? –Statistical Sativa Smoker

Hey, Stat!
All right, all right, all right, let’s look at some crime stats and see the differences in a few types of  reported crimes.  Let’s compare the numbers for Denver burglaries, robberies, crime at dispensaries and arrests for drug violations, as well as citations for DUIs and DUIDs from Colorado State Patrol. Let’s assess the numbers for 2013, the year before recreational marijuana sales began, and 2014.

While it’s too soon to look for trends within this limited scope, it’s important to keep an eye on the numbers.

According to Denver Police’s Uniform Crime Reporting data, total burglaries in 2013 were 5,094. In 2014, burglaries decreased about 10 percent to 4,594. Reported robberies in 2013 totaled 1,137 and decreased 3 percent to 1,099 for 2014.  Arrests for drug violations in 2013 totaled 2,349 and increased almost 10 percent to 2,574 arrests for 2014.

Burglaries at licensed marijuana facilities have decreased in number. In 2013, 147 burglaries were reported.  Mary Dulacki, records coordinator for Denver’s Department of Safety said, “In 2014, there were 118 burglaries and four robberies reported at licensed marijuana facilities in the City and County of Denver.”  Robberies at licensed marijuana facilities in Denver stayed the same; four were also reported in 2013.

Ask The Cannabist: Staking out stats for Colorado crime and DUI arrests
A chart from a Drug Policy Alliance March 2015 report titled “Marijuana Arrests in Colorado After the Passage of Amendment 64” (via Drug Policy Alliance)

The pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance published a report in March that took a broad look at Colorado marijuana enforcement and court cases.

Zeroing in on Denver, a comparison of 2013 and 2014 showed a dramatic increase in arrests for public display/consumption and use in city parks, which the DPA report attributed to “greater attention from law enforcement following the enactment of Amendment 64.” In 2013 there were 184 such violations; in 2014, the combined total was 1,186. Possession violations decreased by 47 percent over the same period, from 667 to 351.

Comparing statistics for stoned driving in Colorado is another matter. The number of DUID citations involving marijuana in 2013 is not known because separate tracking of marijuana-related DUIDs by the Colorado State Patrol only started in January 2014 with the advent of recreational sales.

As previously reported by The Denver Post, in 2014 CSP issued 5,546 citations for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both. Among them, 354 DUID citations were issued in which marijuana was the only suspected substance (6 percent). The 12-month average for marijuana-related citations was 12 percent of the total DUI/DUID citations. The agency did not report DUI/DUID numbers from local police or sheriff’s departments.

How’s that for a quick crime stats comparison? XO

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