The result of Prohibition in the District of Columbia after one year inadvertently predicted what would happen to the rest of the country once the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution came into effect: crime. The sad reality is that while this article only highlighted the criminal effects of prohibition of alcohol after one year, today society deals with very similar crimes related to the prohibition of other substances. It begs the question, should prohibition exist? If making something illegal only causes or creates more crime, why continue to make such substances illegal? What other intoxicants or medicines have been Constitutionally banned? Only alcohol.
CRIME WAVE SWEEPS BONE-DRY CAPITAL
Great Increase in Number of Indictments Under Prohibition in Washington
MANY CRIMES OF VIOLENCE
Increase Also Shown in Robberies, Embezzlements, Forgeries, Cheating, and Swindling
The Association Opposed to National Prohibition yesterday gave out a statement pointing out that the crime record in the District of Columbia has increased since the district was declared bone dry by Congress. It is pointed out by the statement that the association had no figures to show that the number of drug addicts has increased in the District.
“The Grand Jury found 107 new indictments which, added to 80 other true bills previously reported, made 187 criminal indictments for one week,” said the statement. “United States District Attorney Laskey, whose duty it is to prosecute the criminal cases in the Washington courts, is quoted as having said that no Grand Jury since he has been in office has ever returned so many indictments against violators of the criminal law.
“Sixteen of the 187 indictments were for the taking of human life, the degrees ranging from murder outright to homicide. Some of the murders are said to have been committed in the most cold-blooded, savage ways. One of the accused is charged with having thrown a lighted lamp at a woman, setting fire to her clothing and causing her to be burned to death. Several persons were beaten to death with lead pipes. A great number of automobile collisions occurred, causing death and serious injury as a result of criminal negligence. Such acts of depravity and savage violence are too often pictured by the anti-prohibitionists as the sole results of inebriety, and they promised Utopian realization of law and order if Congress would only vote the District of Columbia bone-dry. But, after something more than a year of the bone-dry delusion, the nation’s capital city is showing up the worst criminal record in its history.
“Crimes involving violence are invariably laid to intemperance by the prohibitionists. If the assaults and murders committed in sight of the Capitol are to be thus accounted for, it must be concluded that intemperance is on the increase in Washington since the District of Columbia was voted dry and prohibition at the very citadel of the Republic has proved a miserable farce. But the great bulk of indictments returned by the Grand Jury tells of an increase in other crimes than those of murder, manslaughter, homicide, and assault. There were twenty-nine cases of robbery, embezzlement, forgery, cheating, and swindling returned.”
This newspaper article was transcribed from a scan of the original newspaper article. The document was obtained from the New York Times archives and is in the public domain. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.