Experts: Most drugs and alcohol use have relations to gun violence

Gun Violence Trends: Drugs & Alcohol
Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 5:34 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 14, 2022 at 6:13 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Over the past year in Amarillo, a recent study: Analysis of Gun Violence Trends in Amarillo, Tx found over 30 percent of incidents involving gun violence involved drugs or alcohol.

Amarillo police believe when tensions are high and substances are present, the consequences can snowball and sometimes turn deadly.

“We can affirmatively say that in fully, a third of the cases of violence that we investigate, there’s alcohol use of some type that’s involved either on one or both parties,” says Martin Birkenfeld, Police Chief, Amarillo Police Department.

Chief Birkenfeld says over the last four months, four of the homicides were a result of drug deals gone wrong.

“One of the many dangers of narcotics, especially narcotics dealing, is the violence that occurs with it,” says Birkenfeld.

Analysis of Gun Violence Trends in Amarillo TX
Analysis of Gun Violence Trends in Amarillo TX(Analysis of Gun Violence Trends in Amarillo TX)

“Here in the Amarillo area, out of most of the cases related to the gun violence, 80 percent were under some type of drug use. Out of that percentage, 60 percent was alcohol. So, we know that alcohol is a facilitator for aggression,” says Jeanette Arpero, Instructor of Criminal Justice, West Texas A&M University.

Every year the Amarillo Police Department investigates hundreds of cases concerning narcotic sales and a number of them come from gun violence occurrences.

Birkenfeld says, “Our violent crime has just been consistent, and we want to see that go down. But, we haven’t seen it drop. In fact, we’ve seen more murders this year than we have in recent years. So, we’ve definitely got a lot of work to do.”

The Amarillo Police Department says the presence of drugs in and of itself is part of the bigger problem, whether its doing drugs or selling them.

Amarillo Police plan to treat every case methodically, no matter the severity.

“Our goal is to reduce violent crime in Amarillo, and we do that through comprehensive investigations of both violent crime and drug cases and then vigorous prosecution when we send those cases,” says Birkenfeld

We will continue to investigate gun violence trends in the city of Amarillo.