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LINK BETWEEN METHAMPHETAMINE AND CRIME

Common sense notes that addiction fuels crimes of all kinds. But Strike Force members decided to delve deeper and collect data to better understand the link between meth and specific crimes. Primarily, these are “paper crimes,” committed by methamphetamine addicts, which represent a cluster of identity theft, check forgery and fraud. Members, representing their various sectors, each went to their data sources.

Deputy District Attorney Damon Mosler asked for a data run of both narcotics cases and paper crime cases to see where common defendants were involved

Mosler also did a survey of investigators in his office, as he was sure there was under-reporting of the link. General practice focuses on the charge with the highest consequence, and drops other crimes off the radar screen;

Eric Mosely, of the McAlister Institute for Treatment and Education (MITE), worked with Toni McKean of East County Meth Solutions to conduct focus groups among recovering meth users. They met with three groups of men and women, interviewing a total of 30 persons;

Jay Foley of the Identity Theft Center shared his expertise from the hundreds of identity theft crimes he has worked with.
From this data, the group concluded that more than 75% of paper crimes also involve methamphetamine. Meth-related identity theft tripled from 2001 to 2005. Even more worrisome was the information about the tightly organized criminal tiers in the paper crime business. This “criminal enterprise” relies on methamphetamine users’ addiction to collect and feed stolen information from individuals and businesses into the criminal system. Methamphetamine dealers now exchange the drug for identity papers, yielding a much bigger profit margin.

SMAC CAMPAIGN GOALS

The committee has been examining ways to prevent meth-fueled crime, beyond the personal safeguards we must all take. To this end, the group has assembled a set of campaign goals:

Increase public perception of the link between crime and methamphetamine use via media coverage.

Institute new policy and management tools to reduce meth-related crimes, such as responsible shredding/disposal of customer information, compliance with state law on truncating receipts, and locking dumpsters.

Increase related calls to the Meth Hotline (1-877-No-2-Meth or www.no2meth.org).
As an indirect policy goal, enhance data collection and reporting systems so we better understand the link and prevention tools.


ACTION STEPS

The committee will pursue these goals through training, education, policy development, and risk assessment activities. As a private citizen, you can help reduce identity theft and other meth-related crimes:

Report Truncation Problems: Truncation means that no more than the last four digits should appear on your customer receipt, with the rest of the numbers XXXX'd out, thus maintaining your credit or debit card security. Ideally, the store copy would also be truncated, though the law only requires that the customer copy be truncated. Use the form posted on this web site during the month of March to report locations where your receipt is not truncated. This information will help us develop appropriate solutions.

Join the Speaker’s Bureau:
If you’d like to do training or public speaking on meth and crime,
contact Angela Goldberg at:
angelagoldberg@sbcglocal.net

Join the SMAC Committee: Contact Angela Goldberg at the above email address.

 

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