Thursday, April 08, 2010

How prohibition fuels organised violence

Chris Masters in the Telegraph today writes about gang violence in Melbourne and Sydney in a story headlined 'Why Sydney's hitmen are deadlier'. Under the usual pictures of the Ibrahims, Morans and the late Michael McGurk, he explains various motives behind the violence and deaths, including the practice of an underling serving jail time for a superior but not being properly rewarded after release.

Innocent bystanders killed by stray bullets in gang shootouts are listed.

Then Masters concludes with a neat summary of the role of drug prohibition in all this:

Most often the fighting is down to distribution rights, with the drug trade a common denominator.

The Australian market is, by international standards, lucrative.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, a gram of cocaine that sells for $97 in the US attracts $285 in Australia. Police recently observed one transaction of precursor chemicals originally offered at $120,000 a box soon after selling for double that sum.

While overall homicide rates have trended down over the years, the rate of violence attributed to organised crime remains steady.
And the long-awaited Underbelly 3 - The Golden Mile, set in Kings Cross, debuts this Sunday, Channel 9 8.30. It gets a rave review plus some great Kings Cross footage on The Australian site here.

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