Marijuana could be to blame for rise in New York City murders, says NYPD commissioner

Bill Bratton said the uptick murders seen in New York has to do with pot

Murders are up by 20 per cent in New York City in the first two months of the year, compared to last year, and New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the spike in murders could be due to marijuana.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Mr Bratton said that the New York Police Department has found that pot is associated with violent crime.

“The seemingly innocent drug that’s been legalized around the country,” he said about a possible cause in the spike in murders. “In this city, people are killing each other over marijuana more so than anything that we had to deal with (in the) 80s and 90s with heroin and cocaine...In some instances, it’s a causal factor. But it’s an influence in almost everything that we do here.”

In the first two months of 2015, New York saw 54 murders, up from 45 during the same period in 2014.

While a 20 per cent jump in murders is troubling, the city’s murder rate is way down from 1990, when there were 2,245 murders in the city. Even if the increased murder rate continues in 2015, there would be 324 murders this year.

The Washington Post reported that no evidence links legalising marijuana to an increase in violent crime. In Denver, murders were down 24 per cent in the year after marijuana became legal in Colorado. Seattle saw murders increase to 26 from 23 in the year after Washington legalising pot.

 

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