Total Annual Arrests in the US by Type of Offense

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In 2017, law enforcement agencies in the US made 10,554,985 arrests for all offenses, of which 1,632,921 were drug arrests, 518,617 were for violent offenses, and 1,249,757 were for property offenses.

Although the intent of a 'War on Drugs' may have been to target drug smugglers and 'King Pins,' of the 1,632,921 arrests for drug law violations in 2017, 85.4% (1,394,515) were for mere possession of a controlled substance. Only 14.6% (238,404) were for the sale or manufacturing of a drug. Further, 40.4% of drug arrests in 2017 were for marijuana offenses -- a total of 659,700. Of those, an estimated 599,282 arrests (36.7% 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, 1996-2017


"Crime in the United States 2017 - Arrests," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2018), p. 1, and Arrest Table: Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations.
"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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