National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Comparison of Drug Control Strategies in San Diego, 1989 (ICPSR 9990)

Principal Investigator(s): Pennell, Susan; Curtis, Christine


This study assesses the consequences for offenders of various drug enforcement strategies employed by the San Diego Police Department and profiles the factors that characterize street-level and mid-level dealers, drug users, and the drug market. The drug enforcement strategies examined include the use of search warrants, body wires, police decoys, surveillance, officer buys and sells, wiretaps, and sweeps. Measures of the consequences of arrests include drug and property seizures, convictions, and sentences. The data were drawn from police and court records of drug arrests made by three special sections of the police department in San Diego, California. Additionally, data were collected through personal interviews conducted at the time of arrest with a subsample of persons arrested for drug charges. The arrest tracking file, Part 1, contains demographic information about the offenders, including criminal history and gang membership, as well as data on each arrest through final disposition, charges, and sentencing. The interview portion of the study, Part 2, provides information about the demographics and characteristics of drug users and dealers, criminal history and drug use history, current arrest information, and offenders' opinions about drug use, drug sales, police strategies, and the drug market.

Access Notes

  • One or more data files in this study are set up in a non-standard format, such as card image format. Users may need help converting these files before they can be used for analysis.

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


DS1:  Arrest Tracking Data File - Download All Files (0.746 MB)
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup   
DS2:  Interview Data File - Download All Files (0.637 MB)
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup   

Study Description


Pennell, Susan, and Christine Curtis. COMPARISON OF DRUG CONTROL STRATEGIES IN SAN DIEGO, 1989. Los Altos, CA: Sociometrics Corporation [producer], 1992. 2nd ICPSR version. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000.

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (88-IJ-CX-0034)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    arrests, convictions (law), drug law enforcement, drug laws, drug offender profiles, drug offenders, drug traffic, police departments, search warrants, sentencing, surveillance

Geographic Coverage:    California, San Diego, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1989

Date of Collection:   

  • 1989-06--1989-11

Universe:    Individuals arrested on drug charges in San Diego.

Data Type(s):    administrative records data, and survey data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) Data about the arrest case (including the arresting division, location of arrest, drugs and property seized, and the police strategies used in making the arrest) were recorded only for those individuals considered the key arrest in each case. In most instances the key arrest was the person with the highest, most serious drug charge. (2) The codebooks are provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided through the ICPSR Website on the Internet.


Sample:    In Part 1, the Arrest Tracking File, the data were drawn from arrest records with at least one drug charge made by specialized narcotic and gang divisions at the San Diego Police Department from June to November of 1989. Individuals for the interview data were chosen using an availability sampling method. Two to three days a week, the logs of arrests were reviewed to develop a list of persons arrested for at least one drug charge by one of the three specialized police divisions. Women were excluded from the interview sample.

Data Source:

personal interviews, logs maintained by the San Diego Police Department arresting division, arrest reports, and prosecutor, court, and state criminal history records


Original ICPSR Release:   1993-10-02

Version History:

  • 2000-03-21 The card image version of these data have been reinstated, and the SAS and SPSS data definition statements for the card image data have been replaced.
  • 1999-08-20 The card image files for this collection are no longer being distributed. Also, SAS and SPSS data definition statements have been added to the collection.

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