Dialectical Anthropology

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 319–339 | Cite as

“More drugs, less crime”: why crime dropped in New York City, 1985–2007

  • Travis WendelEmail author
  • Geert Dhondt
  • Ric Curtis
  • Jay Hamilton


The crime drop in New York City has produced a whole academic literature that is unable to explain the decline. This article argues that this literature has ignored the simplest explanation of all: a simultaneous increase in the supply, and decrease in demand for illegal drugs led to a drop in the price of illegal drugs, which in turn led to a drop in crime. We use ethnography to document the drop in demand, secondary literature to document the increase in supply, and econometric analysis to illustrate Granger causality between drug prices and crime rates. While crime dropped across the nation and internationally, our article is focused on New York City.


Cocaine Crime Drugs Drug markets Drug Prices Econometrics  Ethnography Heroin  New York City United States 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Travis Wendel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Geert Dhondt
    • 2
  • Ric Curtis
    • 3
  • Jay Hamilton
    • 2
  1. 1.St. Ann’s Corner of Harm ReductionBronxUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsJohn Jay College, The City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyJohn Jay College, The City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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