According to the head of the HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) task force in Atlanta, you know you're doing the job right when you see an increase in burglaries, armed robberies and murders! Reported the Atlanta Journal Constitution ("Federal vice agents tout successes," March 9):
In reality, the notion that drug prices increased last year because of enforcement has been pretty thoroughly debunked. Still, the mindset here is incredibly telling, don't you think? One expects the general public does not see increased burglaries, robberies car thefts or murders as evidence of any success by law enforcement.
He credits last year's spike in area burglaries, robberies and car thefts in part to criminals forced to pay more for their illicit drugs.
If law enforcement someday succeeds in breaking up established drug territories — the real sign of success from a metropolitan perspective — it could mean a similar spike in murders, as drug organizations vie for a larger market share.
"If the market here gets unstable down to the street, then the streets will get bloody," said [Jack] Killorin, director of Atlanta High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA). "I don't think we're there yet."
There is an art to redefining failure as success, and this gentleman has mastered it.