RAND Study: Crime Increases When Dispensaries Close

Closing medical cannabis dispensaries in Los Angeles is associated with an increase in neighborhood crime, according to a unexpected new study released by the RAND Corporation today.

Researchers there looked at 21 days of crime reports for 600 L.A. dispensaries around the time the city ordered the clubs closed June 7, 2010. The city blamed the clubs for nuisances and crime, but RAND study lead author Mireille Jacobson said that after looking at the data “it’s pretty clear we don’t find evidence for the crime magnet hypothesis.”

“Overall crime increased almost 60 percent in the blocks surrounding closed clinics in the ten days following their closing,” RAND states. “The effects are concentrated on crimes, such as breaking and entering, and assault, that may be particularly sensitive to the presence of security.

“Incidents of breaking and entering increase by about 50 percent within four blocks, and assaults increase by about 90 percents after the dispensaries are closed.”

A dispensary operator in Los Angeles said the study’s theory that a secure business makes a neighborhood safer jibes with him.

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