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Annual Number of Arrests for Drug Offenses in the US By Type of Offense and Substance Type

Annual Number of Arrests for Drug Offenses in the US By Type of Offense:In an analysis of a subset of the UCR's arrest data, police agencies in the US covering an estimated 2016 population of 250,017,636 people reported a total of 1,186,810 arrests for drug law violations in 2016, of which 1,004,762 (84.7%) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 182,048 (15.3%) were for the sale or manufacturing of a drug. Of the 182,048 sale/manufacture arrests that year, 64,288 (5.42% of total) were for heroin, cocaine, or their derivatives; 49,714 (4.19% of total) were for marijuana; 19,163 (1.61% of total) were for synthetic narcotics; and 48,883 (4.12%) were for other non-narcotic drugs. Of the 1,004,762 arrests for possession that year, 241,806 (20.37% of total) were for heroin, cocaine, or their derivatives; 443,454 (37.37% of total) were for marijuana; 61,183 (5.16% of total) were for synthetic narcotics; and 258,319 (21.77%) were for other non-narcotic drugs.

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

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."

Drug Arrest Trends in the US 1990-2010

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."

Proportion of Reported Criminal Offenses Cleared by Arrest or Exception Means in the US, 2015

"• In the nation in 2016, 45.6 percent of violent crimes and 18.3 percent of property crimes were cleared by arrest or exceptional means.
"• When considering clearances of violent crimes, 59.4 percent of murder offenses, 53.3 percent of aggravated assault offenses, 40.9 percent of rape offenses (legacy definition), 36.5 percent of rape offenses (revised definition), and 29.6 percent of robbery offenses were cleared. (Please note, the legacy and revised UCR definitions for rape can be accessed in Offense Definitions.)

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

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. A total of 643,121 marijuana arrests were made that year, of which 64,480 were for trafficking or sales, and 574,641 were for simple possession of marijuana.

Total Annual Arrests in the US by Offense Type in 2016 Compared With 1973

Total Annual Number of Arrests in the US, 1973 and 2015: 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 2016, there were 1,572,579 arrests for drug law violations out of a total 10,662,252 arrests nationwide for all offenses. Also in 2016, authorities reported 515,151 arrests for all violent crimes and 1,353,283 arrests for all property offenses.