Patterico's Pontifications

7/2/2020

No Surprise: the Ferguson Effect Appears to be on the Rise in American Cities

Filed under: General — JVW @ 5:01 pm



[guest post by JVW]

The Ferguson Effect is the idea that once civic unrest and riots begin in response to alleged police wrongdoing, police everywhere react by being less willing to patrol neighborhoods in which they are clearly unpopular and become less likely to respond to lower-level crimes in fear that they could escalate to something far more drastic. It was named for Ferguson, Missouri, site of the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer in 2014. The Obama Justice Department later exonerated the officer, though it did suggest that the department was “racially biased.” In the meantime, Ferguson and its neighboring city St. Louis, along with other metropolitan areas throughout the country, reacted with large protests which oftentimes turned violent, and as a result those communities saw an increase in crime and murder over the subsequent years as police reduced their footprint in those communities. Though there are plenty of left-leaning sociologists who argue that other factors better explain the increases in mayhem, some former skeptics of the Ferguson Effect have begun to acknowledge that there is at least some merit to its thesis.

The recent riots in response to the George Floyd murder (and that of Ahmaud Arbery too) suggest that we are once again seeing the sad effects of the Ferguson Effect when urban police and their bosses in city hall no longer wish to patrol the streets. Writing in City Journal, Heather Mac Donald had begun to piece together post-riot statistics that paint a grim picture:

In Minneapolis, shootings have more than doubled this year compared to last. Nearly half of all those shootings have occurred since George Floyd’s death, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune analysis. [. . .]

In Chicago, 18 people were killed and 47 wounded in drive- and walk-by shootings last weekend. [. . .] The previous weekend in Chicago, 104 people were shot, 15 fatally.

New York City’s homicide rate is at a five-year high; the number of shooting victims was up over 42 percent through June 21 compared with the same period in 2019. The number of shootings in the first three weeks of June was over twice that of the same period in 2019, making this June the city’s bloodiest in nearly a quarter century, according to the New York Times. [. . .]

Milwaukee’s homicides have increased 132 percent. “In 25 years, I’ve never seen it like this,” a Milwaukee police inspector told the Police Executive Research Forum, referring to the violence and the low officer morale. Shootings are spiking in Indianapolis. Other cities will show similar increases once their crime data are published.

[. . .]

So far this year, more people have been killed in Baltimore than at this point in 2019, which ended with the highest homicide rate on record for that city. [. . .]

To be sure, not all of these increases can be directly attributable to the George Floyd riots. Homicides were already on the rise in cities such as New York and Baltimore, both of which have suffered from mayors and other local politicians who distrust police and pander to local anti-police activists. And of course Chicago has long been a mess, beset by a violent gang culture combined with a ridiculously corrupt city hall and a clannish police culture, so shootings there tend to wax and wane (though lately they have certainly waxed) based heavily upon local factors. Yet, as Ms. Mac Donald points out, police shootings are a pretty small part of the danger that black men face in urban environments:

While 307 people have been murdered this year in Chicago, the Chicago police have killed three suspects, all armed and dangerous. In 2018, the New York Police Department recorded its lowest number of fatal civilian shootings — five — since records were first kept in 1971. (Data from 2019 have not been published.) All five victims were threatening or appeared to be threatening officers with guns or knives.

She then goes on to detail the steps that police are taking to roll-back law enforcement presence in some of our most beleaguered neighborhoods, as well as report a rise in anti-police sentiment oftentimes leading to violence against law enforcement. This will no doubt presage significant quality-of-life issues in the days, weeks, and months to come. For instance, if you think the NYPD will respond to your calls about rowdy teens setting of firecrackers in your neighborhood or that Baltimore PD will come break up that loud house party across the street at 2:00 am, you are going to be in for a rude awakening. Ms. Mac Donald reaches a grim — but arguably realistic — conclusion:

These are no longer the warning signs of a possible breakdown of civilized life. That breakdown is upon us. If local and national leaders are unable to summon the will to defend our most basic institutions from false and inflammatory charges of racism, they have forfeited their right to govern. Unless new leaders come forth who understand their duty to maintain the rule of law, the country will not pull back from disaster.

Happy Independence Day Weekend.

– JVW

18 Responses to “No Surprise: the Ferguson Effect Appears to be on the Rise in American Cities”

  1. And of course people, being who they are, can’t manage the two simultaneous thoughts that 1. There is a misuse of power issue in our law enforcement institutions AND 2. We do, in fact, need those institutions. Probably my impulse shouldn’t be to whack all those politicizers upside the head and yell at them to grow up, but that is what it is none the less.

    Nic (896fdf)

  2. Out curiosity, does anyone have comparable statistics for the same periods for St. Paul in comparison with Minneapolis for the same periods? They’re next door and both are large so while the statistics may be different I’d think comparing the trends would be meaningful.

    lazlo toth (cbb623)

  3. 1. Not all people are like that. For the most part, it’s the libwits that subscribe to those mutually exclusive proposals. I’d like to see a return to Peelian policing, though that would require a fundamental change at the state and local levels before any Federal involvement.

    Gryph (08c844)

  4. When we dial past the ambient noise, we see this movement was sparked by thousand currents its astroturf.

    Narciso (7404b5)

  5. Another great post.

    The amount of officials who are ignoring, tolerating, even cheering on this completely unnecessary and drummed up breakdown of civil order is amazing.

    How can anyone supporting this actually think the outcome will be something better?
    _

    harkin (5af287)

  6. The biggest problem confronting America is tolerating the LIES & LAIRS. The precusor to the ‘Ferguson Effect’ was the Trayvon Martin shooting by George Zimmerman (‘the White Hispanic’). See the movie THE TRAYVON HOAX: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America. https://www.thetrayvonhoax.com/

    George Zimmerman was attacked by Martin and was accquited on clear & simple self defense. He never should have been charged. In fact the local police and local DA determined the shooting was in self defense. Then attorney Benjamin Crump conjured up the phonie witness, Reverend(?) Al started his shakedown show, joined by AG Eric Holder and President Obama – and the Fake News Media Machine – and then Zimmerman was brought up on false charges by a new state’s attorney Angela Corey – who participated in the frame up of Zimmerman.

    So much for the Rule of Law.

    When you tolerate the LIES & LIARS, the corollary then is that the TRUTH does not matter. And if the truth does not matter – we are lost. And then we lose our Liberty.

    Watch THE TRAYVON HOAX and see the conspiracy to frame George Zimmerman.

    Then you can see how the Obama administration and the Fake News Media conspired to frame President Trump with the bogus Russian collusion. More LIES & LIARS.

    Liberty & Truth require constant vigilance. GLZ.

    Gary L. Zerman (a1521c)

  7. Yes its arguable the beta version preniered in sanford two years earlier.

    Narciso (7404b5)

  8. @3 Not all, but far too many. And not mostly liberals, equally both liberals and conservatives. See comment 4.

    Nic (896fdf)

  9. When trayvon martin was murdered black leaders told the black community I know your angry ;but we must protect president obama so cool it! Same with ferguson as best as they could with anger being so high. With trump president black leaders tell them to be peaceful? Hell I aint no uncle tom. Have at it. White libs say what ever the black leadership says.

    asset (fc6f26)

  10. 8. We do need police. But what we have in most (all?) cities in the United States are paramilitary arms of municipal governments a la gendarmes. That will keep the sheeple quiet for a while, but not indefinitely. A military exists to fight an enemy.

    Gryph (08c844)

  11. @10 Yes, I agree that reforms would be good. IIRC, your idea and my idea of good policing are pretty close together.

    Nic (896fdf)

  12. These are no longer the warning signs of a possible breakdown of civilized life. That breakdown is upon us. If local and national leaders are unable to summon the will to defend our most basic institutions from false and inflammatory charges of racism, they have forfeited their right to govern. Unless new leaders come forth who understand their duty to maintain the rule of law, the country will not pull back from disaster.

    It;s an attempt to return t the period from the mid 1960s till the 1990s.

    he saing applies; Thise who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Except I should say it;s the bad guys who learn from history.

    The rise in crimw is no accident. It’s the purpose of the organization Black Lives Matter. They are openly calling for getting rd of police.

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  13. 9. asset (fc6f26) — 7/3/2020 @ 2:12 am

    When trayvon martin was murdered

    Trayvon Martin was not murdered. He was killed by George Zimmerman in self defense, although possibly he could have held him off until rescued. Barack Obama did not have the guts to tell people that.

    He didn’t quite have the guts to say that about Michael Brown either and biuried the news. First, finding something else wrong (which was indeed wrong and releasing that report first, and then letting them down in the mildest possible way.

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  14. 6. Gary L. Zerman (a1521c) — 7/2/2020 @ 8:19 pm

    The biggest problem confronting America is tolerating the LIES & LIARS.

    And I am afraid that if Trump is not re-elected, it is going to be a problem calling them out on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

    It shouldn’t be that way.

    On the other side, nobody has a problem calling Trump a liar.

    When somebody can make lies into the truth, it is very dangerous. That is not the case with Trump.

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  15. 1. Nic (896fdf) — 7/2/2020 @ 5:24 pm

    1. There is a misuse of power issue in our law enforcement institutions AND 2. We do, in fact, need those institutions.

    In other words, ad police are better than no police. But we don;t have bad police in New York.

    One problem is the training – police apparently were told that whenever someone says “I can’t breath” they are lying.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/06/28/us/i-cant-breathe-police-arrest.html

    One of the reasons such cases keep occurring may be the persistent belief on the part of police officers that a detainee who is complaining that he cannot breathe is breathing enough to talk.

    Edward Flynn, the former police chief in Milwaukee, said in a deposition in 2014 that this idea was once part of training for officers there and persisted as a “common understanding” even if it was wrong. Other departments have told their officers the same thing, records show, and the notion shows up often in interactions with detainees.

    It’s only half true.

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  16. 15. And and and…the idea that suspects complaining about physical discomfort or being short of breath are lying and dismissed as such out-of-hand, comes from the “us vs. them” mentality fostered in police academies that train paramilitary troops for urban combat zones, rather than community police officers who recognize each other as members of the same citizenry they are sworn to serve.

    Gryph (08c844)

  17. Part of the problem is that they are often dealing with criminals – people who have become sociopaths.

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  18. @13 You missed the point entirely. My point was not about the two killings it was about black leaders restraining the black community from rioting to protect president Obama. The black leadership does not have to protect Obama now so they stand aside and burn baby burn?

    asset (9eaa6e)


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