Here's a new study :
There is no evidence to support a systematic Ferguson Effect on overall, violent, and property crime trends in large U.S. cities.OK. But the author do admit:
The disaggregated analyses revealed that robbery rates, declining before Ferguson, increased in the months after Ferguson. Also, there was much greater variation in crime trends in the post-Ferguson era, and select cities did experience increases in homicide.OK.... So doesn't that mean there is a Ferguson Effect? Apparently not:
Overall, any Ferguson Effect is constrained largely to cities with historically high levels of violence, a large composition of black residents, and socioeconomic disadvantages."Constrained to"? Isn't "constrained to" synonymous with "present in"? Aren't cities with "historically high levels of violence, a large composition of black residents, and socioeconomic disadvantage" exactly where you'd expect to find a Ferguson Effect!? I mean, I wouldn't expect to find a Ferguson Effect in Winnetka, for crying out loud! (Winnetka, Illinois: median income $211,000; 0.3 percent black.)
Liberals, myself excluded, have long tried to discount the efficacy of policing vis-à-vis crime prevention. And now academics seem to want to deny any "Ferguson Effect" because... I don't know. Just guessing, but maybe it goes against a Progressive narrative that police are racist enforcers of bourgeois heteronormative values?
There's no reason the Ferguson Effect needs to be universal or even linked specifically to one event in August, 2014. The question shouldn't be if all cities haven't seen an increase in all crime but rather why why some cities -- most cities, in fact -- have.
What if, hypothetically to be sure, a laser-like focus on police-violence reduced police-involved killings but simultaneously allowed hundreds and even thousands of more murders to happen? If that were true, then what?
What if "hands up don't shoot" were built on a false narrative? What then? What if, just for the sake of debate, we assumed that most police-involved killings were actually justified (since most are) and even life saving? What if the goal of eliminating police-involved killings was, in part, counterproductive? Then what?
Different cities have had different "Ferguson Moments." It wasn't like something magically changed everywhere when Michael Brown was (justifiable) killed. All policing is local.
In New York City the Ferguson moment may have been protests after the death of Eric Garner. Cops were verbally attacked, physically attacked, and two were killed and another bludgeoned with a hatchet. If you think none of that matters... well then you haven't talked to any New York City cop.
In Baltimore, just thinking out loud here, perhaps it was the protests and riots after the death of Freddie Gray. And the misguided criminal prosecution of innocent cops. In Cleveland, not that I know much about Cleveland, I would assume policing changed related to the killing of Tamir Rice. In Nashville? Beats me. But maybe it was giving hot chocolate and coffee to protesters. I applauded that move. Liberals like me love that shit. But I bet it pissed off a lot of the rank and file.
So no, it's not Ferguson per se. Call it whatever you effing want. (I've never been a fan of the actual term "Ferguson Effect.) I'm talking about the real-world effect of an anti-police narrative, the fear cops have of getting in trouble for doing their job, and perhaps the first-hand experience of policing anti-police protests.
Meanwhile, in Chicago:
Cops say they have avoided making many of the stops they would have routinely done last year. They fear getting in trouble for stops later deemed to be illegal and say the new cards take too much time to complete.Just coincidence, of course. There's no way to prove any of this. But I sure haven't heard any good alternative explanation. (At some point, I am partial to Occam's Razor.)
Their reluctance to make stops was borne out by a police statistic released Sunday: Officers completed 79 percent fewer contact cards in January 2016 than over the same period last year.
January 2016 was the deadliest first month of the year since 2001
The ACLU rejects any correlation between declining street stops and rising violence.... Other cities have scaled back their street stops without an explosion of shootings. The reduction of "invasive" street stops is actually a good thing.Really? Well, yes, the NYPD scaled back its stops and crime did not increase. (Not only did crime not increase, between 2011 and 2013 homicides in New York City plummeted 35 percent!)But that doesn't mean that all police stops are bad and to be prevented.
The ACLU released a report in March that found blacks accounted for 72 percent of [Chicago] stops between May and August of 2014, but just 32 percent of the city's population.Again?! Once again we have a denominator problem. Eighty percent of Chicago homicide victims are black. And presumably murderers, too, since most homicides are intra-racial. Should only 32 percent of those arrested for homicide be black? I don't think so. Are only 32 percent of public drug dealers black? No. So why would one expect only 32 percent of those stopped by police to be black?
Look, cops aren't always right. And cops will always complain. But if homicide is going up and cops are saying, "Uh, here's the problem: I can't do my job. And this is why...." Perhaps we should listen. What worries me is the goal to eliminate virtually all discretionary police activity couched int he language of social and racial justice. But if you want police to do less, there's no better way than mandating a two-page form for every stop.
We will see what happens. But crime already is up in many cities. And that -- not reducing the number of police stops -- should be our first concern.
[see also this]