A controversial study published by the RAND Corp. that claimed crime increased in Los Angeles after medical marijuana dispensaries were closed was officially retracted. The RAND study was published in September, linking increases in various crimes to the closure of dispensaries.
The report prompted public safety advocates to question the study. A Santa Monica think-tank reviewed all the data used by RAND and found substantial discrepancies.
The review found the report did not include crime statistics reported by the Los Angeles Police Department. In light of this new information, RAND pulled the plug on the study. RAND also said they have plans to conduct a new analysis, but explained it will take many months to complete.
It appears the RAND authors did not know the third-party organization they used — CrimeReports.com — failed to include LAPD data, according to RAND Vice President of Infrastructure, Safety and Environment Debra Knopman.
“The whole idea of the study was to try to get insight as to whether or not there was an effect on crime, whatever direction, as a consequence of the city’s closure order of some dispensaries. Having an incomplete data set renders that kind of analysis invalid,” Knopman explained.
Knopman called the retraction a “rare failure” from RAND Corp.
“We take our commitment to quality and objectivity seriously, so we have retracted the study in order to correct it,” Knopman said.
In the future, RAND said it would be using crime data taken from police departments, instead of CrimeReports.com or other third party statisticians. Knopman finished by reiterating to readers, “I don’t want to suggest in any way that they misrepresented the data or that they have any responsibility.”