Pubdate: Fri, 10 Aug 2007
Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Vancouver Courier
Author: Bruce Symington


To the editor:

Re: "Takedown," New Brief, July 27.

Reading the item regarding drug dealer arrests I was struck by a 
quote attributed to the police: "It's alarming when a typical drug 
addict might have a $250 a day drug habit. He only gets 10 cents on 
the dollar for the property that he steals, which means he has to 
steal at least $2,500 a day to feed his habit."

What is interesting is this: the police want to blame the drugs for 
the high level of theft due to junkies stealing to buy said drugs, 
when the reality is that it is entirely due to the actions of the 
police that the price of drugs is so high.

In the next paragraph, the call goes out for the police to get even 
tougher on drug dealers. Their justification? They want to reduce theft.

While this is an admirable goal, the approach taken will have exactly 
the opposite result; it will drive up the price of drugs, thereby 
increasing theft.

When the police are "successful" and arrest the dealers, the 
remaining dealers are able to raise their price. Now, the junkie 
needs $300 per day to pay for his drugs, which leads to $3,000 per 
day in theft, using the police's own formula. This increases theft by 
about 20 per cent.

How is this improving the situation? How will it lead to less theft 
when the laws of economics dictate a different result? The results 
will inevitably be that the theft level will go up as the price of 
drugs increases. This will lead to another press conference next year 
calling for an additional ramping up of the war on some drugs. And so 
the snowball rolls.

What I don't understand is how such pretzel logic went unchallenged 
by your reporter. This is another example of how the media lets the 
readers down by not really examining what is said, but just reporting 
distortions and lies as if they were truth.

Bruce Symington,

Medicine Hat, Alberta
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