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date: 20 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The nexus of drugs and violence is a phenomenon well documented by empirical research. Perhaps the most detrimental aspect of drug markets is the violence by which they are often characterized, and the tendency of both to co-occur in structurally disadvantaged urban communities. Situated within this social ecological context, drug markets become more than nuisance activities occurring in specific places, but a social ill rooted in historic structural shifts. As agents of formal social control, the police are also charged with operating in the same context. Therefore, the same ecological processes that facilitate drug markets in urban communities may shape the nature and effectiveness of policing drug markets within them. In this essay I first explore the role of community disadvantage on drug crime and corollary violence in urban communities. I then consider if, and the extent to which community disadvantage conditions police effectiveness on drug market interdiction. Arguments bear on consideration of alternative approaches to addressing drug crime in disadvantaged areas.

Keywords: urban drug markets, drug violence, structural disadvantage, race and policing, policing drug markets

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