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Keywords:

  • Cannabis;
  • drug dealing;
  • methamphetamine;
  • New Zealand;
  • police detainees;
  • property crime

ABSTRACT

Aims  Few studies have examined the statistical association between methamphetamine/amphetamine use and acquisitive crime. Both methamphetamine/amphetamine and cannabis use have been implicated by New Zealand Police as factors in acquisitive offending among active criminal populations. The aim of our study was to examine the statistical association between spending on methamphetamine/amphetamine and cannabis and earnings from acquisitive crime among police detainees in New Zealand.

Setting  Four police stations in different regions.

Participants  A sample of 2125 police detainees were interviewed about their drug use and acquisitive crime.

Design  Statistical models were developed to predict involvement in acquisitive crime using spending on methamphetamine/amphetamine and cannabis for personal use, and to examine associations between the level of spending on methamphetamine/amphetamine and cannabis for personal use and level of dollar earnings from acquisitive crime.

Measurements  Self-reported spending on drug use and self-reported earnings from acquisitive crime in the past 30 days.

Findings  Spending on cannabis and methamphetamine/amphetamine could predict involvement in acquisitive crime. Level of spending on methamphetamine/amphetamine and cannabis was associated positively with the level of earnings from property crime. Level of spending on methamphetamine/amphetamine was also associated positively with level of earnings from drug dealing. There was a largely negative association between level of spending on cannabis and level of earnings from drug dealing.

Conclusions  High spending on methamphetamine/amphetamine is associated statistically with higher earnings from acquisitive crime among police detainees. Further research into this association, and in particular the causal nature of the association, is required to obtain clear policy recommendations.