The Evolution of a Drug Co-arrest Network
The continual increase of drug trafficking in Canada has spurred law enforcement organizations to find improved strategies to decrease supply for illicit substances and target offenders more effectively. In 2007, there were over 100,000 police-reported drug offenses in Canada, marking the highest drug crime rate in 30 years (Dauvergne, 2009). One of the main provinces driving this rate is British Columbia, with the two cities of Vancouver and Victoria consistently having among the highest rates in the country over the last 15 years. In particular, the amount of Canadian youth (aged 12 to 17) participating in drug crime has more than doubled in this time. As a result of such dramatic increases, a National Anti-Drug Strategy was launched in 2007 by government and community organizations to improve drug legislation and to aid in prevention programs (Dauvergne, 2009). Police efforts have largely utilized surveillance and undercover operations to detect and disrupt drug trafficking rings; however, they operate largely on a case-by-case basis (Desroches, 2005). Often those arrested are more visible drug offenders, like those dealing or possessing illegal substances (Dauvergne, 2009). Although cannabis-related crimes account for approximately 60% of all police-reported crimes, cocaine and especially synthetic drugs, like MDMA or ecstasy, are quickly increasing in demand, showing no sign of slowing down (Dauvergne, 2009; Glenny, 2009; RCMP, 2007). This increase
in the trafficking of synthetic drugs has the potential to overwhelm law enforcement agencies, which are already using a vast amount of their resources to combat current drug market activities.