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Legal Marijuana Shops Cause Increase In Property Crimes, Says OSU Research

By Regin Olimberio | Apr 30, 2017 11:11 PM EDT

Where there is a legal marijuana shop, property crimes may escalate at the adjacent neighborhood. A three-year study in Denver concluded that while property crimes are not high in the areas that are near the shop itself, 84 percent of the crime happens in adjacent communities. Denver itself did not register any significant increase in crime rate after the legal marijuana shops opened.

According to lead author Bridget Freisthler of the Ohio State University, there is an apparent reason to be concerned in opening a legal marijuana shop nearby. Apart from the plain medical standpoint, there is a risk context in the business. At any rate, legal marijuana shops are affecting property crimes similar to liquor stores and bars, PhysOrg said.

Freisthler's study began in January of 2013, overlapping the period in the following year when the legal marijuana shops opened. Previously, marijuana was sold only for medical purposes. By then, Freisthler decided to check if recreational sales of marijuana have some link in the property crime rate.

The Denver Police Department immediately fed Freisthler with details regarding three crime types. These include data from 481 census block were violent crime, property crime, and marijuana outlet-specific crime can be traced, the Dayton Daily News reported. The study later compared the effect of legal marijuana shops to those of liquor shops.

Interestingly, Freisthler found out that alcohol shops are yielding much higher violent crimes compared to legal marijuana shops. However, the author admits that there is a caveat in this comparison. A direct comparison of the two is somewhat difficult. Legal marijuana shops have data for both local and adjacent crimes while liquor shops only have adjacent crimes.

What concerns the author is the level of property crimes that happen in certain areas where marijuana shops stood. Remember that legal marijuana shops are not as dense as liquor shops. Meaning, there is an apparent reason to believe that when the number of marijuana shops increases in the future, so will property crime incidents.

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