Policing Australia's 'heroin drought': Using an agent-based model to simulate alternative outcomes

Dray, Anne, Mazerolle, Lorraine, Perez, Pascal and Ritter, Alison (2008) Policing Australia's 'heroin drought': Using an agent-based model to simulate alternative outcomes. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 4 3: 267-287. doi:10.1007/s11292-008-9057-1

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Author Dray, Anne
Mazerolle, Lorraine
Perez, Pascal
Ritter, Alison
Title Policing Australia's 'heroin drought': Using an agent-based model to simulate alternative outcomes
Journal name Journal of Experimental Criminology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1573-3750
1572-8315
Publication date 2008-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s11292-008-9057-1
Open Access Status
Volume 4
Issue 3
Start page 267
End page 287
Total pages 21
Place of publication New York, United States
Publisher Springer New York LLC
Language eng
Abstract Our paper examines how street-level drug markets adapt to a macro-level disruption to the supply of heroin, under three experimental conditions of street-level drug law enforcement: random patrol, hot-spot policing and problem-orientated policing. We utilize an agent-based model to explore the relative impact of abstractions of these three law enforcement strategies after simulating an ‘external shock’ to the supply of heroin to the street-level drug market. We use 3 years of data, which include the period of the ‘heroin drought’ in Melbourne (Australia) that commenced in late 2000 and early 2001, to measure changes in a selected range of crime and harm indicators under the three policing conditions. Our results show that macro-level disruptions to drug supply have a limited impact on street-level market dynamics when there is a ready replacement drug. By contrast, street-level police interventions are shown to vary in their capacity to alter drug market dynamics. Importantly, our laboratory abstraction of problem-orientated policing is shown to be the optimal strategy to disrupt street-level injecting-drug markets, reduce crimes and minimize harm, regardless of the type of drug being supplied to the market.
Keyword Agent-based simulation model
Australia
Heroin drought
Illicit drug
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Institute for Social Science Research - Publications
 
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