12/23/16, "The Ferguson Effect Lives On," City Journal, Heather MacDonald
"Violence in American cities rose again in 2016, as cops backed off proactive policing."
"The Black Lives Matter crusade against the police continued to cost
lives and destroy civil peace in 2016. Two recent estimates of violent
crime in the nation’s largest cities show that murders and shootings
remained on an upward trajectory this year, as officers backed off of
proactive policing. The Brennan Center for Justice projects
that murders in the 30 largest cities will be 14 percent higher in 2016
compared with 2015, a stunning increase coming as it does on top of
2015’s already massive homicide rise,
which was 14.5 percent in all cities with populations over 250,000 and
20 percent in cities with populations from 500,000 to 1 million. The Wall Street Journal found
that homicides increased in 16 of the 20 largest police departments in
2016. Meanwhile, gun murders of police officers are up 68 percent
through December 23, compared with the same period in 2015.
Medium-sized cities that don’t show up in the Brennan Center or Wall Street Journal analyses are also in distress. Cleveland’s murder numbers, for example, are up again in 2016 over 2015, which, with a 15 percent spike over 2014, was already one of the deadliest years in a decade. By early December 2016, Richmond had logged
a 40 percent increase in homicides over 2015, making this year
Richmond’s deadliest in a decade. And even in some cities where
homicides decreased modestly over the previous year’s violent crime
surge, the drop may simply reflect the vagaries of emergency-room
treatment, ambulance speeds, and gangbangers’ shooting skills. Non-fatal
shootings are up in Baltimore,
though homicides are down slightly compared with 2015. Measured on a
per capita basis, 2016 will still be Baltimore’s second deadliest year
in its history.
The media, academia, and some police officials are again twisting
themselves into knots to deny that depolicing is responsible for the
ongoing violent-crime increase. None of their alternative explanations
fits the timing. The Wall Street Journal cites Yale sociologist
Andrew Papachristos for the proposition that the demolition of
Chicago’s massive public-housing projects is resulting in more gang
violence today: “What we are seeing now is more ‘mom and pop’ type of
activity,” he says. But the last of the projects went down in 2011.
Chicago’s homicides dropped significantly in 2013 and 2014. It was only
in 2015, as race riots and virulent anti-cop protests spread across the
country and as Chicago cops went “fetal,” in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s words,
that Chicago’s homicides and shootings started spiking.
The Brennan Center cites
“long-term socioeconomic problems (high poverty, unemployment, and
racial segregation)” for the 2016 violent crime increase, the same
explanation it gave last year for the 2015 crime spike. But such
“long-term socioeconomic problems” have not worsened in the last two
years. In implicit recognition of that fact, the Brennan Center this
year has added an ad hoc supplemental explanation: cities with
high poverty “are more prone to short-term spikes in crime,” the Brennan
researchers allege without evidence. But last year’s national homicide
increase was not some typical short-term blip; it was the largest in
nearly 50 years. Virtually every population tranche of cities
experienced it. The Brennan Center also cites “gang violence” as a cause
of the rising violence in Chicago—a circular explanation.
University of Missouri, St. Louis, criminologist Richard Rosenfeld continues to propose
that a loss in police legitimacy has made residents of high-crime areas
less willing to cooperate with the police in solving crimes, and more
likely to turn to retaliatory shootings in search of justice. But the
no-snitch ethic has been the code of the streets for decades in minority
areas. The young men who are gunning each other down in black ghettos
at elevated rates were no more likely three years ago to fulfill their
civic duties by helping solve shootings. What has changed is their
likelihood of getting stopped and questioned by the police as they hang
out on the corner; with the police backing off, they are more likely to
carry and use guns.
The head of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, Darrel Stephens,
cites the easy availability of firearms as a possible cause of the crime
increase. Firearms were just as available in 2013 and 2014, however,
before the Michael Brown police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, ignited
the Black Lives Matter movement and its fawning media coverage. Stephens
also cites the usual alleged root causes of violence: “high poverty,
high unemployment, low educational achievement.” Again, however, they
have not worsened since Ferguson.
The strong version of what I have called the Ferguson Effect—a
drop in proactive policing leading to rising crime—is the only
explanation for the crime increase that matches the data. The country
has just elected a new president who understands that the false narrative about the police
has led to the breakdown of law and order in inner cities. If the crime
situation improves in the coming year, it will be because Black Lives
Matter calumnies no longer have an echo chamber in the White House and
because cops on the beat believe that they will now be supported for
trying to restore order where informal social control has broken down."
News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.
Monday, December 26, 2016
Increase in US murders in 2015 was largest in nearly 50 years. Brennan Center predicts 2016 murders in 30 largest US cities will be up 14% from 2015. Success of Black Lives Matter has led to drop in proactive policing and rise in crime. Gun murders of police officers are up 68% through 12/23/16 compared with same period in 2015-City Journal, MacDonald
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