Over the past two or three years heroin has made a strong comeback in West Michigan, resulting in not only countless deaths due to overdose, but a substantial rise in criminal charges. HIDTA, or high intensity drug trafficking areas, include Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Detroit, among others. Not too many years ago, Flint became a city that ranked continuously as one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. for several reasons, one being a sharp increase in heroin use. How does the increase of heroin addiction relate to the increase in crime in the state?
In regions where heroin addiction is high (particularly HIDTA regions), violent and property crimes are quite common. Heroin addicts often know no boundaries when it comes to getting their “fix,” and those who distribute or traffic heroin will go to almost any lengths to protect their distribution operations. Some of the most common criminal offenses committed by addicts who seek the funds to support their addictions include burglary, robbery, retail fraud, and other theft crimes.
Heroin Addiction Results in Crime Among Those Involved
Not only does heroin addiction often result in violent or theft/property crimes against those not involved with heroin or other drugs, it also results in crime within the drug community itself. For instance, many people become violent as a result of consuming heroin or other drugs. A drug dealer may injure or even kill an addict who owes him/her money; rival drug dealers may become violent with each other. In addition, possessing, manufacturing, distributing, or trafficking heroin are crimes on their own and often result in substantial prison time, fines, and other punishment.
Those Who Commit Crimes are Often Under the Influence at the Time
From assault to sex crimes, prostitution, robbery, homicide, even domestic violence or fraud/forgery, many arrestees test positive for heroin or other illegal substances at the time of their arrests. The numbers are staggering, actually, and while you may assume there are more men who are under the influence of heroin when a crime is committed than women, the numbers are fairly equal. Heroin addiction is a real and growing problem among the female population.
Just last December, it was announced by the Detroit Police Dept. and FBI-Detroit Division that a joint operation was underway to target the drug trade, specifically related to heroin overdoses, deaths, and the crime/devastation that results from heroin addiction and drug trafficking. Authorities focused on disabling the drug trade and disrupting the illegal distribution of heroin in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties in Michigan. You can read the press release here to learn more about the FBI and Detroit police efforts.
In the end, it all boils down to the fact that those addicted to heroin will resort to almost anything to get the substance they’re addicted to. Overall, those who use drugs of any type are far more likely to commit theft, property, or even violent crimes than those who do not use drugs. Heroin addicts are generally supplied by those who traffic drugs whether directly or indirectly, and drug trafficking is problematic in itself, generating substantial violence in the cities and communities across Michigan.
Essentially, if heroin addiction and trafficking could be wiped out the crime rates across many of Michigan’s most dangerous cities would drop dramatically. The question is, what more can we do to overcome this devastating (and often deadly) addiction?
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime related to heroin, please review our defense services here.