In Denver, Colorado, dispensary break-ins are just about par for the course. To date this yr, police have reported round 35 break-ins at weed outlets within the higher metro space. That’s multiple dispensary housebreaking every week, and about as many as police reported at this level final yr. However now, police are investigating a brand new crew of dispensary thieves which can be bringing a brand new which means to the time period freeway theft. Investigators say a well-coordinated group of three to 4, or probably six persons are robbing dispensaries alongside the world’s main highways. To date, the break-in investigation hasn’t made any breakthroughs. And fearing the dispensary burglars will quickly strike once more, Denver Police have issued a particular alert to cannabis store homeowners.

Denver Police Put Metropolis Dispensaries on “Excessive Alert”

On Wednesday, Denver Police launched the primary image of a gaggle of automotive thieves and dispensary burglars which can be wreaking havoc on Denver weed outlets. The surveillance digital camera photograph doesn’t reveal the identification of any of the burglars. They’re too well-concealed for that. However the photograph clearly identifies the car the burglars are utilizing: a Jeep just lately reported stolen.

Denver Police say the MO of the group includes stealing Jeeps then breaking into weed outlets after hours. Utilizing easy smash-and-grab techniques, the group is prying open dispensary doorways after which simply grabbing every part inside attain.

Investigators consider the identical group is answerable for dispensary break-ins throughout the entire Denver metropolitan space. However lots of their robberies have focused dispensaries situated alongside interstates 70 and 25, the foremost highways working by Denver. The shut proximity of the dispensaries to the highways makes for a straightforward getaway.

Authorized Hashish Outlets Might Be Linked to Greater Ranges of Property Crime

Arguments for legalization usually make the case that ending the criminalization of cannabis will scale back violent drug-related crime and make communities safer. And whereas it does look like the case that legalization hasn’t led to a rise in violent crime, it might be contributing to larger ranges of property crime like break-ins, vandalism and robberies.

In keeping with a three-year examine performed by researchers at Ohio State College, authorized marijuana outlets are inflicting larger ranges of property crime in Denver. It’s not that crime is larger within the space instantly surrounding cannabis outlets. As a substitute, it’s the adjoining areas which can be experiencing larger charges of property crimes per yr than neighborhoods with out a close by dispensary. In keeping with researchers, areas close to weed outlets noticed about 84 extra property crimes per yr over a 3 yr interval.

Alcohol Outlets Nonetheless Trigger Extra Crime than Weed Outlets in Denver

Denver’s ongoing string of dispensary robberies is elevating severe considerations about legalization and public security, particularly amongst opponents and skeptics. However placing the 34 dispensary robberies in Denver this yr in context exhibits that by way of crime, alcohol retailers influence neighborhood security greater than cannabis dispensaries do.

Knowledge from the Ohio State College examine exhibits that marijuana shops contributed to 1,579 property crimes in Denver over 34 months. Comparatively, alcohol shops contributed to 1,521 property crimes over the identical interval. However it was alcohol shops that have been answerable for roughly 4 occasions extra violent crimes (372) than outlets that offered marijuana (93) over the 34 month interval.

So although research hyperlink authorized marijuana gross sales to a rise in burglaries and different crimes at marijuana shops themselves, weed gross sales aren’t making Denver communities any much less protected than alcohol outlets do.