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SALT LAKE CITY — Legalizing marijuana may decrease the amount of crime, according to new studies recently released.
In a study published inPLOS ONE, researchers focused on the crime rates of Part I crimes, which consists of homicide, rape, robbery, burglary, larceny and auto theft, in relation to marijuana use. Researchers found that marijuana did not increase violent crimes.
"We believe that medical marijuana legalization poses no threat of increased violent crime," Robert Morris, the study's lead author, said to the Huffington Post. "In fact, for some forms of violence — homicide and assault — we found partial support for declines after the passing of this legislation."
In Denver, where marijuana was recently legalized, data shows that violent and property crimes have decreased over the three months of legalization, according to data from the Denver Police Department 2014 crime statistics and maps website.
We believe that medical marijuana legalization poses no threat of increased violent crime. In fact, for some forms of violence — homicide and assault — we found partial support for declines after the passing of this legislation.
Compared to the first two months of 2013, violent crimes decreased in January and February of 2014 by 2.4 percent, and property crime dropped by 12.1 percent. Reports of robberies dropped by 6.2 percent, reports of stolen property dropped by 13 percent, and reports of burglaries and criminal mischief to properties increased by only 0.5 percent.
However, Smart Colorado’s Henny Lasley told Vox Media that it may be too soon to tell.
“We quite frankly don’t know," he said. "We’ve had three complete months of retail marijuana. We were getting those questions three days into legalization. It’s a pretty short window.”
Kailey McBride is a student at BYU-Idaho with a major in English and an emphasis in professional writing. Email: email@example.com.