Crime, Arrests and US Law Enforcement

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Data Tables:

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1. Total Annual Drug Arrests In The United States By Offense Type

2015: Of the 1,488,707 arrests for drug law violations in 2015, 83.9% (1,249,025) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 16.1% (239,682) were for the sale or manufacturing of a drug.
2014: Of the 1,561,231 arrests for drug law violations in 2014, 83.1% (1,297,384) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 16.9% (263,848) were for the sale or manufacturing of a drug.
2013: Of the 1,501,043 arrests for drug law violations in 2013, 82.3% (1,235,358) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 17.7% (265,685) were for the sale or manufacturing of a drug.
2012: Of the 1,552,432 arrests for drug law violations in 2012, 82.2% (1,276,099) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 17.8% (276,333) were for the sale or manufacturing of a drug.
2011: Of the 1,531,251 arrests for drug law violations in 2011, 81.8% (1,252,563) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 18.2% (278,687) were for the sale or manufacturing of a drug.
2010: Of the 1,638,846 arrests for drug law violations in 2010, 81.9% (1,342,215) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 18.1% (296,631) were for the sale or manufacture of a drug.
2007: Of the 1,841,182 arrests for drug law violations in 2007, 82.5% (1,518,975) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 17.5% (322,207) were for the sale or manufacture of a drug.

"Crime in the United States 2015 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2016), p. 1, and Arrest Table: Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations.
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"Crime in the United States 2014 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2015), p. 1.
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"Crime in the United States 2013 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, November 2014), p. 2.
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"Crime in the United States 2012 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2013), p. 1.
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"Crime in the United States 2011 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, October 2012), p. 1.
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Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations, 2011: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cj...
"Crime in the United States 2010," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2011), Table 29.
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Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations, 2010: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cj...
"2007 Crime in the United States," (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2008), Table 29.
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Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations, 2007: http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius20...

2. Total Annual Arrests in the US by Offense Type Current Year Compared With 1973

In 1973, there were 328,670 arrests reported by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) for drug law violations, out of a total 9,027,700 arrests nationwide for all offenses. Also that year, authorities reported 380,560 arrests for all violent crimes and 1,448,700 arrests for all property offenses.
In 2015, there were 1,488,707 arrests for drug law violations out of a total 10,797,088 arrests nationwide for all offenses. Also in 2015, authorities reported 505,681 arrests for all violent crimes and 1,463,213 arrests for all property offenses.

FBI Uniform Crime Reports 1973 (1973 drug arrest data supplied by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service)
Violent and Property Crime Arrest Datasheet 1970-2003, Bureau of Justice Statistics, accessed Oct. 29, 2012.
http://www.bjs.gov/content/dat...
"Crime in the United States 2015 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2015), p. 1, and Arrest Table: Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations.
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"Crime in the United States 2014 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2015), p. 1.
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3. Annual Number of Arrests for Drug Offenses in the US By Type of Offense

In 2015, the FBI reports there were a total of 1,488,707 arrests for all drug offenses, of which 239,682 were for sale or manufacture of any drug, and 1,249,025 were for possession of any drug. Of the 239,682 sale/manufacture arrests that year, 81,879 were for heroin, cocaine, and derivatives; 68,480 were for marijuana; 26,797 were for synthetic or manufactured drugs; and 62,526 were for other dangerous non-narcotic drugs. Of the 1,249,025 possession arrests that year, 296,252 were for heroin, cocaine, and derivatives; 574,641 were for marijuana; 75,924 were for synthetic or manufactured drugs; and 300,719 were for other dangerous non-narcotic drugs.

Click here to open full table showing drug arrest data from 2010-2015.

"Crime in the United States 2015 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2016), p. 1, and Arrest Table: Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations.
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"Crime in the United States 2014 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2016), p. 1.
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"Crime in the United States 2013 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, November 2014), p. 1.
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"Crime in the United States 2012 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2013), p. 1.
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"Crime in the United States 2011 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, October 2012), p. 1.
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Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cj...
"Crime in the United States 2010," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2011), Table 29.
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Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cj...

4. Total Annual Arrests in the US by Year and Type of Offense

In 2015, law enforcement agencies in the US made 10,797,088 arrests for all offenses, of which 1,488,707 were drug arrests, 505,681 were for violent offenses, and 1,463,213 were for property offenses. Although the intent of a 'War on Drugs' may have been to target drug smugglers and 'King Pins,' of the 1,488,707 arrests for drug law violations in 2015, 83.9% (1,249,025) were for mere possession of a controlled substance. Only 16.1% (239,682) were for the sale or manufacturing of a drug. Further, the majority (43.2%) of drug arrests in 2015 were for marijuana -- a total of 643,121. Of those, an estimated 574,641 arrests (38.6% of all drug arrests) were for marijuana possession alone. By contrast in 2000, a total of 734,497 Americans were arrested for marijuana offenses, of which 646,042 (40.9%) were for possession alone.

Click here to open table displaying Total Annual Arrests in the US by Year and Type of Offense, 1996-2015

"Crime in the United States 2015 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2016), p. 1, and Arrest Table: Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations.
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"Crime in the United States 2014 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2015), p. 1.
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"Crime in the United States 2013 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2014), p. 1.
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"Crime in the United States 2012 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2013), p. 1.
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"Crime in the United States 2011 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, October 2012), p. 1.
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"Crime in the United States 2010," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2011), Table 29.
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"Crime in the United States 2009," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2010), Table 29.
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"2008 Crime in the United States," FBI Uniform Crime Reports (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2009), Table 29.
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"2007 Crime in the United States," (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2008), Table 29.
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"2006 Crime in the United States," (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2007), Table 29.
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"Crime in the United States 2005," FBI Uniform Crime Reports (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2006), Table 29.
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"Crime in the United States 2004," FBI Uniform Crime Reports (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2005) Table 29.
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"Crime in the United States 2003," FBI Uniform Crime Reports (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2004), p. 269, Table 4.1 & and p. 270, Table 29.
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"Crime in the United States 2002," FBI Uniform Crime Reports (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, 2003).
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"Crime in the United States 2001," FBI Uniform Crime Reports (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2002), p. 232, Table 4.1 & and p. 233, Table 29.
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"Crime in the United States - 2000," FBI Uniform Crime Reports (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2001), p. 216, Tables 29 and 4.1.
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"Crime in the United States - 1999," FBI Uniform Crime Reports (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2000), pp. 211-212.
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"Crime in the United States - 1998," FBI Uniform Crime Reports (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1999), pp. 209-219.
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"Crime in the United States - 1997," FBI Uniform Crime Reports (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1998), p. 221, Table 4.1 & p. 222, Table 29.
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"Uniform Crime Reports for the United States 1996" Federal Bureau of Investigation (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1997), p. 213, Table 4.1 & p. 214, Table 29.
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"Crime in the United States - 1995," FBI Uniform Crime Reports (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1996), pp. 207-208.
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FBI, UCR for the US 1990 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1991), pp. 173-174.
FBI, UCR for the US 1980 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1981), pp. 189-191.

5. Drug Arrests in the US, 2010, by Age and Gender

"State and local law enforcement agencies made an estimated 1,336,500 arrests for drug possession or use in 2010. Females were 20% of these arrests. The median age in drug possession or use arrests was 26. Eleven percent of drug possession or use arrests in 2010 involved a juvenile, 18% involved persons age 40 or older, and 6% involved persons age 50 or older."

Snyder, Howard N., "Arrests in the United States, 1990-2010" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Oct. 2012), NCJ239423, p. 12.
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6. Drug Arrest Trends in the US 1990-2010

"There were 80% more arrests for drug possession or use in 2010 (1,336,530) than in 1990 (741,600). Between 1990 and its peak in 2006, the arrest rate for drug possession or use increased 75% (figure 37). The arrest rate declined between 2006 and 2010, ending in 2010 at 46% above its 1990 level and at a level similar to those seen between 1997 and 2002."

Snyder, Howard N., "Arrests in the United States, 1990-2010" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Oct. 2012), NCJ239423, p. 12.
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7. Estimated Average Police Time Taken For Each Marijuana Possession Arrest In The US

"In our ongoing research about marijuana possession arrests in New York,1, we have found that a basic misdemeanor arrest for marijuana possession in New York City varied from a minimum of two or three hours for one officer, to four or five hours or even longer for multiple officers. During this time the officers returned to the police station with the handcuffed arrestees and booked them; they took photographs and fingerprints, gathered other information and wrote it up. They sent the personal data to be checked against the state's criminal databases and often waited to receive the arrestees' criminal records, if the database searches found any. Arresting officers regularly took suspects to the central booking jail, were interviewed by assistant district attorneys, and appeared in court.
"For a very low and conservative estimate, we used two and a half hours as a minimum average amount of time one officer spends making a marijuana possession arrest. We multiplied 2.5 hours by the number of lowest-level marijuana possession arrests (charged under NYS Penal Law 221.10) for each year since 2002 when Mayor Bloomberg took office.
"The front cover of this report shows a graph with the number of marijuana arrests for each year from 2002 through 2012. In those eleven years the NYPD made a total of 439,056 possession-only arrests. Multiplied by two and a half hours of police time per arrest that equals 1,097,640 hours - or approximately one million hours of police officer time to make 440,000 marijuana arrests. That is the equivalent of having 31 police officers working eight hours a day, 365 days a year, for 11 years, making only marijuana possession arrests."

Harry Levine, Loren Siegel, and Gabriel Sayegh,"One Million Police Hours: Making 440,000 Marijuana Possession Arrests in New York City, 2002-2012," Drug Policy Alliance and Marijuana Arrest Research Project, New York City, NY, March 2013, p. 2.
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8. Proportion of Reported Criminal Offenses Cleared by Arrest or Exception Means in the US, 2015

"• In the nation in 2015, 46.0 percent of violent crimes and 19.4 percent of property crimes were cleared by arrest or exceptional means.
"• When considering clearances of violent crimes, 61.5 percent of murder offenses,54.0 percent of aggravated assault offenses, 37.8 percent of rape offenses (revised definition), 36.2 percent of rape offenses (legacy definition), and 29.3 percent of robbery offenses were cleared. (Please note, the legacy and revised UCR definitions for rape can be accessed in Offense Definitions.)
"• Among property crimes, 21.9 percent of larceny-theft offenses, 13.1 percent of motor vehicle theft offenses, and 12.9 percent of burglary offenses were cleared.
"• In 2015, 20.4 percent of arson offenses were cleared by arrest or exceptional means.
"• Nearly 25 percent (24.9) of arson offenses cleared involved juveniles (persons under age 18)—the highest percentage of all offense clearances involving only juveniles.
"• More than 14 percent (14.6) of rape offenses (revised definition) that were cleared involved juveniles."

"Crime in the United States 2015 - Offenses Cleared," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2016), pp. 2-3.
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9. Definition of 'Clearance' in Crime Statistics

"Cleared by arrest
"In the UCR Program, a law enforcement agency reports that an offense is cleared by arrest, or solved for crime reporting purposes, when three specific conditions have been met. The three conditions are that at least one person has been:
"• Arrested.
"• Charged with the commission of the offense.
"• Turned over to the court for prosecution (whether following arrest, courtsummons, or police notice).
"In its clearance calculations, the UCR Program counts the number of offenses that are cleared, not the number of persons arrested. The arrest of one person may clear several crimes, and the arrest of many persons may clear only one offense. In addition, some clearances that an agency records in a particular calendar year, such as 2015, may pertain to offenses that occurred in previous years.
"Cleared by exceptional means
"In certain situations, elements beyond law enforcement’s control prevent the agency from arresting and formally charging the offender. When this occurs, the agency can clear the offense exceptionally. Law enforcement agencies must meet the following four conditions in order to clear an offense by exceptional means. The agency must have:
"• Identified the offender.
"• Gathered enough evidence to support an arrest, make a charge, and turn over theoffender to the court for prosecution.
"• Identified the offender’s exact location so that the suspect could be taken intocustody immediately.
"• Encountered a circumstance outside the control of law enforcement thatprohibits the agency from arresting, charging, and prosecuting the offender.
"Examples of exceptional clearances include, but are not limited to, the death of the offender (e.g., suicide or justifiably killed by police or citizen); the victim’s refusal to cooperate with the prosecution after the offender has been identified; or the denial of extradition because the offender committed a crime in another jurisdiction and is being prosecuted for that offense. In the UCR Program, the recovery of property alone does not clear an offense.
"Clearances involving only persons under 18 years of age
"When an offender under the age of 18 is cited to appear in juvenile court or before other juvenile authorities, the UCR Program considers the incident for which the juvenile is being held responsible to be cleared by arrest, even though a physical arrest may not have occurred. When clearances involve both juvenile and adult offenders, those incidents are classified as clearances for crimes committed by adults. Because the clearance percentages for crimes committed by juveniles include only those clearances in which no adults were involved, the figures in this publication should not be used to present a definitive picture of juvenile involvement in crime."

"Crime in the United States 2015 - Offenses Cleared," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2016), pp. 1-2.
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10. Clearance Rates for Reported Violent and Property Crimes in the US, 1996-2015

According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, in 2015, of the 1,197,704 violent offenses known to police, 46.0 percent were cleared by arrest or exceptional means. Of the 7,993,631 property offenses in 2015 known to police, only 19.4 percent were cleared by arrest or exceptional means.
In 2000, of the 1,131,923 violent offenses known to police, 47.5 percent were cleared by arrest or exceptional means. Of the 8,235,013 property offenses in 2000 known to police, only 16.7 percent were cleared by arrest or exceptional means.

Click here for the complete datatable Clearance Rates for Reported Violent and Property Crimes in the US, 1996-2015.

In the UCR Program, a law enforcement agency reports that an offense is cleared by arrest, or solved for crime reporting purposes, when three specific conditions have been met. The three conditions are that at least one person has been:

  • Arrested.
  • Charged with the commission of the offense.
  • Turned over to the court for prosecution (whether following arrest, courtsummons, or police notice).

"Crime in the United States 2015 - Offenses Cleared," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2016), pp. 1-2.
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"Crime in the United States 2014 - Clearances," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2015), p. 1.
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"Crime In The United States, 2013 - Offenses Cleared," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, November 2014), pp. 2-3.
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"Crime in the United States 2013 - Property Crime," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, November 2014), p. 1.
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"Crime in the United States 2013 - Violent Crime," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, November 2014), p. 1.
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"Crime in the United States 2012 - Clearances," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2013), p. 1.
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"Offenses Known to Police and Cleared by Arrest," Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics (Albany, NY: The University at Albany, 2013), Table 4.20.2011, last accessed Sept. 17, 2013.
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