Much has been made of the murder rate so far this year in Indianapolis. With 87 murders in Marion County (as of 7/28/2014), the rate has shown an increase and appears to be headed for record numbers. Many solutions have been proposed to address this increase and the accompanying increase in other crimes as well. One of the most commonly proposed fixes is to increase the number of police that patrol the streets. This will not solve the underlying issue as it does not address the root causes of the murder rate. The only real, meaningful way to reduce the murder rate is to have major reforms at the federal, state, and local levels of government.
The war on drugs has one of the overall biggest influences on the murder rate in the city. In nearly all of the news reports that flow through the local media it can be easily noted that nearly all victims knew their attackers before the attack. This generally is code speak for drug dealers. Reforming drug laws at all levels of government is needed. Drug producers and suppliers are the source of large portions of the violence that surrounds Indianapolis.
Many people believe that catching more drug dealers and locking them in prison will help this problem. That thinking does not hold water. Drugs, like all other things, live in a supply and demand market. People have shown us that there is a demand and that it does not go away due to the illegality of a substance. Therefore, supply will be met. Further, it will be met in a black market that does not operate in a transparently where the buyer can make a safe and informed decision. It can can easily be deduced that the black market leads to dangerous situations by simply looking at the Indianapolis murder rate. If marijuana or cocaine were legal and sold at the corner drug store, people would not be in many of these situations.
To expand on that argument further. Many drug dealers are held in prisons across America today. These are men and women with families, with young children. With them in prison, there can be no family unit as moral crusaders will imply is the root of this problem. These are people removed from their family for victimless crimes.
The war on drugs is a large part of the reason behind the high murder rate in Indianapolis, but it is far from alone. Another one of the leading factors contributing to the murder rate is the over regulation of society. Licensing, permits, regulations all add costs to a person trying to start a business. Before nearly as many of these restrictions existed, a person could start a business with simply an idea and a small amount of space in their home. That cannot happen today. In the world of today, a newly formed business must spend money it does not have on all the necessary legalities before operating. This hurts the lower-income communities much harder than middle and upper class families. People with lower incomes no not have the capital to meet all of the unnecessary, burdensome requirements to start a simple business.
When people in the lower income communities cannot take advantage of entrepreneurial opportunities due to these things, they must turn elsewhere to find sources of income. Society limits them through regulations, so that they have no other option but to turn to the black market. Once in the black market, drug dealing is commonly seen as a way to make a large sum. Until regulations, licensing, and permits are reduced or eliminated, there will not be an end to those seeking to make money in a black market. These people simply will continue to work underground because they cannot afford to make money in the normal market.
While there are other factors that have led to the increased murder rate in Indianapolis this year, these factor cannot be ignored. The war on drugs and red tape have damning effects, especially in lower income communities. While many changes would still be needed at the federal and state level. The city would benifit greatly by attempting reform on these the avenues. More law enforcement is not the answer, repealing the laws and regulations that got us to this point is the only logical answer.