Only weeks after RAND took a controversial study of marijuana dispensary crime off the shelf following questions about its validity, a Fox 11 News report gives at least anecdotal evidence that some pot shops are dangerous places (especially for people who work there).
The station unearthed video after video (after the jump) of scary situations -- mostly armed takeover robberies, mostly in the San Fernando Valley.
The report states that ...
... there have been 10 dispensary shootings in a section of the Valley that covers the LAPD's Devonshire and Topanga stations since 2008.
In one security video robbers enter a dispensary, push a female clerk around, stuff marijuana into a bag, hit a safe (for its marijuana) and last, but not least, empty the cash register.
(At least they have their priorities straight). Two of the robbers open fire on the door so they can get out.
LAPD Det. Robert Holcomb told the station that, increasingly, the crimes aren't reported, and the shops chose to handle the robberies with street justice via "organized crime, Mexican Mafia, cartels, Armenian mafia." (His words, not ours).
RAND ran into trouble recently when it published a study claiming that crime actually went down around dispensaries that had closed, indicating that dispensaries might actually lower crime in their neighborhoods, possibly as a result of their security teams.
But we were one of the first to question the research: It didn't mirror LAPD statistics, and it wasn't clear even to the city exactly which dispensaries had actually closed (many had been ordered to shut their doors but defied the city).
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RAND pulled the study.
Holcomb says that although the number of dispensaries in Devonshire has been reduced to 3 from 60, they're still juicy targets for crime:
They put a big green cross on their door and they told everyone, including their customers, that there''s marijuana in there -- high quality, high grade -- and there's money in there.