Understanding Drugs, Alcohol and Crime

By Trevor Bennett; Katy Holloway | Go to book overview

chapter six
The statistical association:
just coincidence?

Introduction

Previous reviews

Involvement in drug use and involvement in crime

Frequency of drug use and frequency of crime

Disaggregating the drugs–crime relationship

Multiple drug use and crime

Conclusion

Further reading


Introduction

The statistical association between drug use and crime concerns the extent to which drug use and crime are found together. In other words, it concerns the question, 'When you find drug use, do you also tend to find crime?' It can be determined by looking at the proportion of drug users who commit crimes or the proportion of criminals who use drugs. It can also be determined by looking at the rate at which drug users commit crimes and criminals use drugs. The phrase makes no assumptions about whether the association is causal. Drug use might cause crime and crime might cause drug use. However, they both might be caused by other factors or the association might be a result of a non-causal overlap of problematic behaviours.

The chapter is divided into five main sections. The first looks at the results of previous reviews of the literature on the drugs–crime connection. The second considers studies that have investigated the relationship between involvement in drug use and involvement in crime. The third looks at the relationship between frequency of drug use and frequency of crime. The fourth looks at research that has attempted to disaggregate the relationship by looking at the connection between specific types of drug use and specific types of crime. The fifth section looks at the relationship between multiple drug use and crime.

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