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Policing Australia's heroin drought : using an agent-based model to simulate alternative outcomes

Dray A., Mazerolle L., Perez P., Ritter A.. 2008. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 4 : p. 267-287.

Our paper examines how street-level drug markets adapt to a macro-level disruption to the supply of heroin, under three experimental conditions of street-level drug law enforcement: random patrol, hot-spot policing and problem-orientated policing. We utilize an agent-based model to explore the relative impact of abstractions of these three law enforcement strategies after simulating an external shock to the supply of heroin to the street-level drug market.We use 3 years of data, which include the period of the 'heroin drought' in Melbourne (Australia) that commenced in late 2000 and early 2001, to measure changes in a selected range of crime and harm indicators under the three policing conditions. Our results show that macro-level disruptions to drug supply have a limited impact on street-level market dynamics when there is a ready replacement drug. By contrast, street-level police interventions are shown to vary in their capacity to alter drug market dynamics. Importantly, our laboratory abstraction of problem-orientated policing is shown to be the optimal strategy to disrupt street-level injecting-drug markets, reduce crimes and minimize harm, regardless of the type of drug being supplied to the market. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : législation; marché; modèle de simulation; substance toxique; australie; drogue

Thématique : Méthodes mathématiques et statistiques; Sociologie rurale et sécurité sociale; Autres thèmes

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