Exploring the Drugs-Homicide Connection

Sean P. Varano, Northeastern University
John D. McCluskey, Michigan State University
Timothy S. Bynum, Michigan State University

Researchers have noted a connection between drugs and homicide for some period of time. Although the drug-homicide connection remains apparent, the relationship remains rather vague. drug associated homicide is a multi-faceted concept covering a variety of indicators of association. For example, victim use, perpetrator drug sales, paraphernalia on scene and so on, can classify a homicide as "drug related." An in-depth study of the connection between homicide and drugs has in many cases been left undocumented. This has resulted in little systematic growth in knowledge about this relationship (Parker and Auerhahn, 1999). Our paper attempts to chart the "drug related" dimensions of homicide that appear most frequently and assess the proximity of various indicators to officially identified drug hotspots. Homicide file data on approximately 120 homicides, occurring between 2000-2002, were collected from a metropolitan homicide unit serving a densely populated urban center. The purpose of this research is to gain a better understanding as to the connection between homicide patterns and various sub-types of drug-related characteristics.

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Updated 05/20/2006