The Ferguson Effect (2015) is the rise in crime in the US caused by police doing as little as possible because of citizen video, especially after the Ferguson and Black Lives Matter protests. That in turn has made criminals bolder.
The Wall Street Journal on May 29th 2015:
The New Nationwide Crime Wave: The consequences of the ‘Ferguson effect’ are already appearing. The main victims of growing violence will be the inner-city poor.
The New York Times on August 31st 2015:
Murder Rates Rising Sharply in Many U.S. Cities
The FBI director, James Comey, on October 23rd 2015 said of the Ferguson Effect:
“I don’t know whether that explains it entirely, but I do have a strong sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind that has blown through American law enforcement over the last year.”
Later he admitted he had no facts to back that up, but still maintained that it was “common sense”, that the country needs to talk about it.
There is no nationwide crime wave: The New York Times, for example, looked at the homicide rates in 10 of the 60 largest cities in the US. It did not say how it chose those ten. It only looked at 4 of the 20 largest cities, even though there is public data for 16 of them. If you look at all 16, there is no clear overall increase in the murder rate.
Not even in Chicago: Of the four largest cities that the New York Times did look at, only one had a statistically significant increase in the homicide rate: Chicago. But even that does not seem to mean much when you compare it to other years:
Change in the Chicago homicide rate:
- 2010: +5.1%
- 2011: -13.1%
- 2012: +28.5%
- 2013: -16.4%
- 2014: -3.4%
- 2015: +11.3%
One year does not a trend make. If there is some kind of Ferguson Effect, it will not be clear for several years.
The police, if anything, are becoming more violent. The US keeps terrible records on police killings, but as far as we can tell it is getting worse:
- In December 2014, The Economist reported that US police shot and killed 458 people in the latest year for which data was available. Germany, meanwhile, killed 8; Britain, 0.
- In October 2015, The Guardian reported that US police had shot and killed 833 people so far in 2015. At that rate, it will be over 1,000 by the end of the year.
The Killed By Police database shows an increase in both 2014 and 2015. So much for the “chill wind”.
No clear relationship between policing and crime: The Ferguson Effect rests on the idea that there is some kind of clear-cut relationship between policing and the crime rate. It is nowhere near that simple. There has been a huge drop in crime rates across the West over the past 20 years. Not just in the US, but even in countries that do not have such brutal police. Criminologists do not know why.
Like “All Lives Matter” and “Black-on-Black crime”, the Ferguson Effect is yet another argument to excuse police brutality, to not respect Black lives or the US Constitution.
– Abagond, 2015.
- “All lives matter”
- Black-on-Black crime argument
- Black Spring – that supposedly brings the chill wind
- knockout games – another bogus “crime trend” blamed on Blacks
- What if police brutality was seen as a crime?