Purpose – Comparisons between New York Police Department (NYPD) drug‐allegation data and data from users' and sellers' self‐reports about crack, powder cocaine and heroin provided useful insights about the allocation of police resources via drug‐allegation data. Design/methodology/approach – Central Harlem was divided into 45 primary sampling units (PSUs) with two years of NYPD data organized in three strata, high, mid or low allegations/capita. In nine randomly selected PSUs (three/stratum), interviewers employed chain referral sampling, steered with a nomination technique. Findings – NYPD drug‐allegation data concurred more often with self‐report data concerning crack use/sales, but underestimated use/sales of powder cocaine and heroin. Mid‐level PSUs had proportions of crack users/sellers similar to high‐level PSUs. Mid‐ and low‐level PSUs often had high proportions of powder cocaine and heroin users/sellers. Research limitations/implications – The enumeration of crack users/sellers produced results similar to NYPD data because crack use/sales may be more easily detected and willingly reported by citizens, police informants and police officers. Powder cocaine and heroin use/sellers enumerated were less noted in the NYPD drug allegations. Originality/value – Provides insights into a question not addressed in previous research – how much and what kinds of drug activity are indicated by NYPD drug‐allegation data.
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 2005
Keywords: Police; United States of America; Drugs; Crimes
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