The Impact of Heroin Prices on Robbery Trends Essay example

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The Impact of Heroin Prices on Robbery Trends


In Australia, as in other western countries, illicit drug users often resort to crime in order to fund their habit. Heroin dependence has been a major factor in the escalation of robbery over the past four decades and there is a strong link between the rising price of heroin and increase in property crime[1]. Research has revealed that drug treatment, such as methadone clinics, has proved effective in decreasing the robbery rate; however there is a lack of literature on whether a decrease in the price of heroin would cause this decline. If the Australian Government were to legalise heroin, pure heroin would be available at a very
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Consequently, as Figure 1 reveals, the robbery rate has increased significantly from 1966.[6]


BOCSAR has also studied other possible causes for this increase in robbery, such as an increase in male unemployment. However, while robbery rates increased sharply from 1996, male unemployment decreased; hence male unemployment was not a determinative factor. BOCSAR thus concluded that an increase in heroin dependence (revealed by an increase in heroin overdose) has a major impact upon the increase of robbery. Other studies that further verify this link between drugs and crime include Mukherjee, Jorgensen,[7] McBride and McCoy[8] and The Official Salvation Army Response to Proposed Heroin Trials.[9] Therefore, since the correlation of high levels of drugs use and crime is ‘one of the most reliable results obtainable in criminology,’[10] it is widely acknowledged throughout all of the literature that drugs and crime are causally linked.

2. Why dependent heroin users commit crimes

There is wide debate on the nature of drugs and crime, and whether dependent drug users

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