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Many U.S. Cities See Spikes in Murder, Violent Crime

Is it a new trend or a temporary detour? And what's to blame?

The New York Times reports that at least 35 American cities have been seeing more murders, more violent crimes, or more of both this year than last year. Some cities—Baltimore, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Washington—are undergoing unusually large leaps in the number of homicides.

Quality!Art of FictionBefore we talk about that, some important caveats. We do not yet have national crime figures for 2015. Many cities are not seeing such surges, and in some spots the numbers are declining. In some of the places seeing increases, the spikes are small and may represent random fluctuations. If you look at New York's numbers, for example, you'll see that while murders are more common now than at this point last year, they're still lower than they were two years ago. So is 2015 a particularly bad year for New York, or was 2014 particularly good? Chicago's increase in homicides is more substantial than New York's—20 percent rather than 9 percent—but again, it comes after a year when the numbers were unusually low. (And there are reasons to doubt some of Chicago's recent low crime figures, so I'd be especially wary about drawing quick conclusions where that city is concerned.)

On top of all that, there's the simple fact that we don't know yet whether this is a blip or a trend. In 2005, after crime had been declining for more than a decade, the FBI revealed that homicides, robberies, and aggravated assaults had all grown more common in the previous year. The Police Executive Research Forum promptly produced a paper titled "A Gathering Storm—Violent Crime in America," which opened with a warning that such numbers could be "the front end of a tipping point of an epidemic of violence not seen for years." Then the drops in all three rates resumed.

But if it's premature to say there's been a nationwide reversal in America's long-falling crime rates, it's very true that several cities are facing sudden spikes in serious crimes. And while the reasons for those increases are unclear, there's been a concentrated effort among the opponents of criminal justice reform to blame them on a so-called "Ferguson effect." This notion gets mentioned in the Times piece:

Among some experts and rank-and-file officers, the notion that less aggressive policing has emboldened criminals—known as the "Ferguson effect" in some circles—is a popular theory for the uptick in violence.

That's a mild way to describe the thesis. It's often stated in much nastier terms, with an accusation that the critics of abusive police practices have blood on their hands. Most infamously, Heather Mac Donald wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed in May that said "the intense agitation against American police departments" was the "most plausible explanation of the current surge in lawlessness." (And might police departments in turn bear any blame for inspiring such agitation? Not as far as Mac Donald's concerned.)

What's the alternative view? Well, there's We aren't even sure why crime across America was just FALLING, and that went on for more than two decades, so it's a little early to draw sweeping conclusions about the last eight months. Beyond that, given that some cities are seeing higher rates while others aren't, we may be more likely to find compelling explanations for the increases by looking at local conditions than by searching for a national pattern. The Times reports, for example, that New Orleans' increase in homicides does "not appear to reflect any increase in gang violence or robberies of strangers, but rather involved killings inside homes and cars by people who know their victims—particularly difficult crimes to predict or prevent." Whatever might explain that increase, it isn't exactly grist for the Ferguson-effect crowd: As the city's police superintendent tells the Times, that's "not a situation that can be solved by policing."

But if we're looking at local factors, we also have to consider the possibility that a Ferguson effect is at work in some locations but not in others. On the paper's list of cities where homicides are going up, the two with the highest rates are St. Louis and Baltimore, the very places where protests against police killings (of Michael Brown in the first case, Freddie Gray in the second) turned into actual riots. Could those be examples of the Ferguson effect in action? If not the sleazy version of the argument that blames reformers for crime, then at least the milder stance described by the Times, where criminals are emboldened because police are pulling back?

Not in St. Louis. As the criminologist Richard Rosenfeld has pointed out, the murder rate there started rising before Michael Brown died, then reverted to the previous year's pattern as the controversy around his death was taking off. That's hard to blame on the events in Ferguson.

With Baltimore their case is stronger, though still cloudy. Just to give you a sense of how bad Baltimore's summer has been, there have been more homicides in the city this year than in New York. That's total homicides, not homicides per capita, even though New York has more than 13 times as many people. And other crimes have headed upward in Baltimore too. Believers in the Ferguson effect can note that these numbers skyrocketed after the April riots, and that the number of arrests dropped deeply at the same time (though they've been rising again recently). The police presence around town also decreased after April. It is often suggested that these changes reflected an increased unwillingness, Ferguson-effect-style, to police aggressively.

On the other hand, the rise in the number of shootings actually started before Freddie Gray died, suggesting some deeper dynamics are at play, though the problem did intensify enormously after the riots. And before you rush to attribute the decreased police presence to post-riot wariness, you should note that the department has also been spread thin lately, with a substantial number of vacancies on the force. Nor is less policing the only possible explanation for the crime wave. With more than 30 pharmacies looted during the riots, there was an influx of new opiates onto the black market; it is widely believed that this disrupted the usual drug distribution patterns and set off violent disputes. And the Baltimore government has been in a state of even deeper dysfunction than usual this year, a fact that's had its own effects on both citizen/cop relations and police morale. So even in the city where the case for a Ferguson effect is strongest, there's a host of other factors to disentangle.

Here's one piece of good news: It's September. Many violent crimes happen more frequently in the warmer months, whether or not the annual crime rate is surging. I can think of a few cities that'll be eager to exit the long, hot summer and enter a long, cool fall.

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  • Jerryskids||

    Violent crimes tend to happen more frequently in the warmer months

    I'm not saying it's global warming, but it's global warming.

  • LynchPin1477||

    So that's why Canada has such lower crime rates.

  • JWatts||

    Yes, clearly it's global warming. We have to cut carbon emissions or we'll all be slaves to road gangs roaming the hostile wasteland on deserted, but surprisingly well maintained highways. There will be vicious fights to the death involving the destruction of dozens of vehicles and burning hundreds of gallons of fuel over a 55 gallon drum of gasoline. Think of the children!

  • LynchPin1477||

    roaming the hostile wasteland on deserted, but surprisingly well maintained highways

    ROADZ!!!!

    Actually, a deserted but well maintained highway does sound like an anarchist fantasy.

  • RealCrankyYankee||

    Mad Max Lives!

  • Raven Nation||

  • ||

    Cop shot in Fox Lake = massive manhunt. 4 Negroes shot in the city, routine investigation.

    #blacklivesonlymattersometimes

  • sarcasmic||

    By "routine investigation" I assume you mean waiting for the phone to ring.

  • ||

    Hey, that wasn't the number shot—that was the number killed

    12 shot since last night.

  • ||

    Correct my correction: 4 dead, 12 wounded.

  • ||

    According to a previous Reason article, Trump is to blame.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    Trump is Back to the Future II Biff. Someone must have pointed that out already, right?

  • straffinrun||

    *Ahem* Don't call me someone.

  • Mr Lizard||

    How about blathering two-legged meat stick?

  • straffinrun||

    That's what I'm talking about. Is it true if you cut a lizard in half you get two lizards?

  • sarcasmic||

    If people would just stop criticizing cops when they murder unarmed innocents, then crime would go down. Duh.

  • Berserkerscientist||

    Actually, I think this is part of the problem. The assumption is now that any time a cop shoots a suspect, it is racially motivated murder. This is ridiculous.

    Many of the cases in the forefront of the discussion on police misconduct are actually cases of police acting accordingly. For example, Michael Brown tried to get an officers weapon, which is a very serious offence. This is a very poor case to use for police misconduct where there are many many real cases.

    The problem is the race-baiting media have whipped this issue up for ratings and clicks.

  • sarcasmic||

    When I read news about cops killing people, when it happens at close range, with very few exceptions, the cop always says the person went for his gun. 99.9% of the time. Sorry, but I have to believe that's just boilerplate that may be true some of the time, but is mostly a lie. Like most everything else cops put in the historical fiction they call reports.

  • Marshall Gill||

    "Being a criminal makes you not fear death, so of course you go for the cops gun."

    I swear to Science that a Leftarded BiL said these exact words to me.

  • dchang0||

    "When I read news...."

    This is a big part of the problem. You are letting the news media decide which data points get to your awareness and attention and which don't.

  • ConradCA||

    You can't speak with broad strokes. Each case needs to be judged individually on the evidence.

    Trayvon Martin attempted to murder George Zimmerman and was killed in self defense. Michael Brown attempted to murder Officer Wilson and was shot in self defense. Freddie Gray was arrested. stood up in a moving vehicle while in handcuffs and fell breaking his neck. Eric Garner resisted arrest and died because his body was unable to withstand the stress. One black man ran from a policeman and was shoot in the back. That officer has been fired and charged with murder.

    Every case has been treated correctly. The problem is that politicians have been lying about these cases trying to pander for the votes of black criminals.

  • Harold Falcon||

    Piss off, statist. This has nothing to do with race. It's cops acting like the fucking fascist pigs they are.

  • ConradCA||

    It's not cops acting like fascist pigs. It's politicians such as Obama attempting to lie their way into office the same way Hitler did.

  • SuperNaut||

    According the many in the NYT comments, this increase in violent crime is due to the enormous influence of the NRA in black communities and in drug gangs.

    How about that, I was able to deliver that with a straight face.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I'll bet your face muscles hurt, though.

  • Phoebem||

    I wonder how many gangbangers are members of the NRA?

  • Jordan||

    I wonder if Dunphy still thinks that cops are WINNING!

  • WoodchipperPatriarch||

    From what I saw, they won yesterday 4-1.

  • Jordan||

    Oh, no question they are winning when it comes to body count. Dunphy won't even deny that. But he's delusional enough to believe that the public image of police isn't going into the shitter.

  • sarcasmic||

    Well, when you take a poll of people who love the police*, the police have overwhelming support!

    *No need to poll people who don't trust the cops because only criminals distrust the police.

  • Mr Lizard||

    You know who else won the body count but lost the war?...

  • SimonJester||

    King Pyrrhus of Epirus?

  • ||

    Another factor for the murder rate is quality of medical care. One of the reasons the murder rate has declined so much over the last few decades was the advancement of medical technology and transportation, which meant that people had a better chance of surviving what could be a fatal wound. If the quality of medical care goes down, the murder rate will start going back up.

  • WoodchipperPatriarch||

    This is the first time I've seen this theory posited. I'm really tempted to call you a fucking idiot, but I won't. For now.

  • sarcasmic||

    I've seen the same theory posited for why fewer soldiers die in the field compared to yesteryears. It makes sense.

  • SFC B||

    Improved medical care has no doubt improved the survival rate for Soldiers in combat. Soldiers inured in combat who live long enough to be treated by a combat lifesaver (squad/team-level people with about a week of training and a bag of immediate-aid items) have like a 95% survival rate, and if the Soldier lives long enough to be treated by the actual mdeical folks it's like 99%. They can evacuate a Soldier injured in Afghanistan or Iraq from the field to a Level III trauma center in like half a day and have them at Walter Reed in about a day. It is ridiclious how quickly they can get treatments that weren't dreamt of in the Gulf War.

    Combine the medical treatment with improved gear and it's a huge part of why casualties have been so low by historical standards.

  • ConradCA||

    The major factor in the reduced deaths is body armor, rapid transport to hospitals and a better smarter military.

  • ||

    It's definitely the case.

  • Jesse Walker||

    This is the first time I've seen this theory posited.

    There was a big Wall Street Journal piece about it a few years ago. It's worth a read—there's definitely some evidence for the idea, but there are some sensible words of caution from some experts they talked to as well.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Interesting. Needs evidence. Like an increase in attempted murders, and flat numbers for the combination of murders + attempted murders.

  • JWatts||

    There's plenty of evidence for it. It's been widely stated for years.

    "In other words, more people in the U.S. are getting shot, but doctors have gotten better at patching them up. Improved medical care doesn't account for the entire decline in homicides but experts say it is a major factor."

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB.....0684277812

  • Tony||

    The data show that violent crime in general as well as property crime are down across the board since the early 1990s.

  • ||

    Huh, what do you know - just about the time the gun control movement started to really run out of steam and states began to recognize a citizen's right to defend himself again.

  • ConradCA||

    Improvements in law enforcement such as the Broken Windows theory and serious penalties for crimes are keeping criminals in jail.

  • kbolino||

    Like an increase in attempted murders, and flat numbers for the combination of murders + attempted murders

    I'm not sure that would necessarily follow. A homicide is generally considered to have occurred when a coroner's investigation reaches that conclusion. There isn't a lot of wiggle room outside of that process since there's indisputable physical evidence (the corpse) and no input from the victim (being dead and all). With the victim still alive, the physical evidence is more subjective and the victim's input can shape the course of the investigation.

  • Phoebem||

    Could this be the winner of this year's post hoc fallacy award?

  • Mike M.||

    Whatever we do, let's not blame the most divisive, polarizing, hostile president in American history!

  • Tony||

    I'll forever be baffled by how you idiots can blame the president for your own irrational emotional states.

  • sarcasmic||

    I blame Bush.

  • SQRLSY One||

    I blame Woodrow Wilson!

  • sarcasmic||

    +1 Glenn Beck

  • Walter Peck||

    You know who else blamed Woodrow Wilson...

  • JWatts||

    You mean sort of like the Left blaming Bush for all kinds of things he had no control over?

  • Tony||

    No, I mean specifically blaming the president for his "divisiveness," a thing that only exists because people insist on being opposed to everything and anything he says or does because the fat man on the radio said so.

  • Jordan||

    If only everybody would just agree with Obama! Why are they so unreasonable!

  • sarcasmic||

    Why are they so unreasonable!

    Racism. Straight up.

  • sarcasmic||

    I find it funny how leftists absolutely refuse to even contemplate the idea that that fat man is popular because he says stuff that people already think, and instead insist that he is telling people what to think.

  • Tony||

    Who gives a fuck? The fat man's listeners are in the Trump camp. They, in supermajorities, believe the president is a Muslim born in another country. Your point would be valid if they had coherent thoughts, but they don't, they believe conspiracies before facts, and the content is almost completely unimportant (I say almost because the one consistent thread is racism).

  • sarcasmic||

    Aaaaaaand WHOOSH go the goalposts! So utterly predictable. And stupid.

  • Jordan||

    sarcasmic|9.2.15 @ 10:35AM|#

    Why are they so unreasonable!

    Racism. Straight up.

    LOL

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    HE IS A MUSLIM! HE AIN'T NO AMERICAN!

  • WTF||

    Let the strong wind of fish farming blow across the country!

  • wareagle||

    Tony,

    the fat man's listeners who get Trump are like sane people who don't listen to him: in the absence of leadership, people gravitate toward whatever looks most like it. Repub voters gave their party a majority and see no benefit at all from that. And they see a GOP establishment bent on Jeb, yet another mushy technocrat barely distinguishable from most Dems. So, they are telling the party to fuck itself.

  • wareagle||

    no radio fat guy invented black lives matter. Do you suppose the parents and grandparents of today's agitators laugh or cry when the new generation bitches?

  • ||

    Santa Claus is on the radio?

  • Raven Nation||

    Bush was an idiot who was also powerful enough to re-direct Hurricane Katrina.

    Alternative: Bush was an idiot who acted as front man for Karl Rove who was powerful enough to re-direct HK.

  • sarcasmic||

    No, no, no! It was Darth Cheney and the Halliburton Hurricane Machine!

  • R C Dean||

    Halliburton Hurricane Machine

    Good commenter handle.

  • Mindyourbusiness||

    Or a cover band name.

  • Mike M.||

    I almost forgot to mention that liberal media scumbags like you bear a lot of the blame as well. Deliberately helping to foment lies like "Hands up, don't shoot!" doesn't help the situation at all.

    But of course you're such a sick motherfucker that you love everything that's going on in this country right now.

  • Tony||

    But we appear to have different goals. Who gives a flying fuck if "Hands up don't shoot" is an accurate retelling of history? You're doing just what I said you do: blaming your own irrational anger on things other than your innate bigotries and obsessions.

  • wareagle||

    who gives a fuck? Only people who think an honest recounting of events matters. Thanks for confirming that you have no interest in that.

  • Tony||

    But you are the most historically illiterate people on the planet.

  • WTF||

    Projection, it's what's for dinner!

  • wareagle||

    hey! WTF, WTF?

  • wareagle||

    you're projecting again. It's what progs do. You're the people who glom onto global cooling, global warming, and climate change; you're the people who accuse others of racism while effectively destroying the black family; and you're the guy who says facts don't matter but accuses others of ignorance.

  • Tony||

    And why not add some scientific illiteracy while we're at it.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Projection

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    What about that water vapor - dipshit?

  • PM||

    But you are the most historically illiterate people on the planet.

    Even the conservative boogeymen that live in your head are smarter than you.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Tony what about the koch brothers?

  • Mike M.||

    Who gives a flying fuck if "Hands up don't shoot" is an accurate retelling of history? ...we appear to have different goals.

    Yeah, we most certainly do, you lowlife piece of shit.

  • Harold Falcon||

    "Who gives a flying fuck if "Hands up don't shoot" is an accurate retelling of history? "

    Critical Race Theory. Morally bankrupt shit.

    Fuck off and die.

  • R C Dean||

    Deliberately helping to foment lies like "Hands up, don't shoot!" doesn't help the situation at all.

    They should have waited until the most recent shooting of a guy gunned down with his hands in the air.

  • Phoebem||

    No need to be baffled. It's only irrational to you. While Mike may be emotional, I'm not. Divisive and polarizing and hostile are our president's strengths. It's enabled him to be ultimately successful in driving nationalized health care, abuse of executive power, and a nuclear Iran down the public's throats, as well as bankrupting the oil and gas industry, and doubling the welfare rolls, while wasting billions on laughably inept and worthless solar panel manufacturing, and windmill farms that are more environmentally destructive, expensive, and useless than the solar panels.

    My emotional state is quite healthy considering I am witnessing the destruction of America's economic health and it's transformation into a second rate Eurotrash cousin.

  • LynchPin1477||

    divisive, polarizing, hostile president in American history

    He has some contenders for that.

    Also, let's not blame him for this, actually. People are responsible for their own actions. And I don't even see a plausible mechanism by which Obama would be motivating more homicides. Maybe if a significant number were politically motivated you'd have a point. As it stands, you don't.

  • Mike M.||

    He's obviously not entirely, or even mostly to blame, but he absolutely bears some responsibility.

    When he first came into office, he offered America's black underclass hope. Now, the fact that they invested so much hope in him to the point of absurdity is to a large degree their own fault, and a result of their various pathologies mixed with a degree of desperation.

    But now, he has absolutely nothing to offer them except anger and resentment. And he never, ever misses an opportunity to do so, in his oh so passive-aggressive and clever way. And the most sickening part of it is that he does it while he vacations in $12 million estates up in Chilmark.

  • Tony||

    Tell us more about how the blacks are.

  • wareagle||

    according to numbers, they have a ridiculous rate of single-parent birth, much of which we can thank the likes of you for supporting policy that made welfare a lifestyle. They also have an outsized rate of dropping out, usually from horrible schools which are also the result of years of liberal control. And they have a violent crime rate at odds with their overall population, but on this, you at least have common cause with those on the right in supporting the drug war.

  • Tony||

    So something about black people makes them inherently more prone to collecting welfare, being lazy, not marrying, and supporting politicians who are bad for them.

    What is that quality?

  • wareagle||

    the results of policies your ilk has supported are evident. Incentives, dumb ass, matter. When you give people money for having kids they cannot support on their own, don't act shocked when they do it again. It's the white trash, too, but the percentages among blacks are far more stark given their portion of the population. You folks have done through policy what the most rancid racist could have only dreamed of doing through intimidation.

  • Tony||

    You are not making one bit of goddamn sense and I can tell that you know it. You are just so invested in confirming your inherently racist theory while not admitting to me that it is in fact racist.

  • Phoebem||

    It's not a racist theory. Inner cities have been deluged by countless social programs, billions of dollars thrown into efforts to provide education + jobs; so why hasn't ANY of it worked? Dems have run all of the major cities: Chicago, Baltimore, etc...for decades, and now have no one else to blame. That doesn't stop them, of course.

    When Ds offer money, claim Rs are going to take it away, urge you to vote to keep that from happening, and you do it, and Dems get into office, why don't things get better?

    Blacks aren't free. They went from being slaves to white masters before the Civil War to being slaves of Democrats afterwards and pols control the message blaming the other guy. The worst are those like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who KNOW what's going on and take their cut to keep it going. It's sickening. Margaret Sanger TOLD people her goal was to increase abortions in inner cities to prevent blacks from outnumbering whites and SHE is Hillary Clinton's hero. Obama has done f-all except ensure that he and his will never know a day's want. Meanwhile, black kids are gunned down by older black kids in Chicago daily, but no one wants to talk about that. They just want to attack the lone white cop who shoots a black man who just robbed a convenient store.

    What does it take to open your eyes? What reason would we have to lie? I want equal opportunity for everyone - most people do. But, there will never be freedom for black people until they see that they've been used.

  • retiredfire||

    Everything "wareagle" says makes complete sense, except to the brain-dead "progressive" - ah, there I go again repeating myself.

  • R C Dean||

    What is that quality?

    Reliably voting in corrupt Democrats?

  • ||

    They vote Democrat and liberals ike you into office.

  • LynchPin1477||

    he absolutely bears some responsibility

    So let me get this straight. Your argument is that Obama disappointed black people who voted for him, so they have gotten more violent, and that has caused some uptick in murder rates, so Obama bears some responsibility?

    Do I have that right?

  • Mike M.||

    Yes, because he is deliberately aggravating the anger and resentment.

    To be fair about it, one has to point out that some of the anger is absolutely justified, because there have been cold-blooded unjustified assassinations by the cops, and also that Dylann Roop creep. We've seen some of them on video with our own eyes. "Hands up, don't shoot" was an outright lie, but the murders in Staten Island and South Carolina were very real.

    However, a responsible president who sees himself as a leader of the entire country would be working to try to cool things down, instead of deliberately inflaming things.

  • Tony||

    But you idiots are the only ones who are inflamed. Why not try relaxing? He's just a Democrat, he's not the antichrist.

    I don't think blacks are any more angry and resentful than they have been at the system that continues to treat them as subhuman undesirables. Perhaps the word you mean is "empowered" or "visible" in their case.

  • wareagle||

    I don't think blacks are any more angry and resentful than they have been at the system that continues to treat them as subhuman undesirables.

    by all means, let's compare the lives of today's blacks to those of 50 or 100 years ago. Because nothing has changed.

  • WTF||

    Dreams are a great thing, but you know something? They take a lot of energy. But that's OK. There's a job waiting for you down the block from your house that doesn't require a thought in your head or a hope in your heart. So come on down and work for the artificial flower factory. Why fight it? OK? Thank you.

  • Frankjasper1||

    How do you feel about the koch brothers?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Yes, because he is deliberately aggravating the anger and resentment.

    By being black (you forgot that part).

  • LynchPin1477||

    OK, I just wanted to make sure I fairly understood you before calling you an idiot.

    There are these things called personal agency and intellectual honesty. Your position is no different than those who claim pictures of Mohammad are to blame for terrorism.

  • Azathoth!!||

    And I don't even see a plausible mechanism by which Obama would be motivating more homicides

    Well, if a chunk of the decline was better medical care, and homicides are going up since the passage and implementationof the ACA, then I think we've got a pretty clear mechanism--shitty socialized medical care is killing people--mostly young black men.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Whatever we do, let's not blame the most divisive, polarizing, hostile president in American history!

    BLOCK YOMAMA IS DIVISIVE BECAUSE HE WON'T BLAME EVERYTHING ON ILLEGALS AND BLAEKS!

  • WTF||

    What you've just said... is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever seen. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having seen it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul...

  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    How many states seceded over this President?

  • ||

    I wonder how many have succeeded in spite of this President ?

  • WoodchipperPatriarch||

    Could it be due to the current administration giving tacit approval to rioting and mass vandalism?

  • LynchPin1477||

    But if we're looking at local factors, we also have to consider the possibility that a Ferguson effect is at work in some locations but not in others

    It's not implausible. Unfortunately, the response will be that we need tougher policing.

    Well, I might agree. We need tough policing of actual violent criminals. But what will probably happen is non-violent people committing victimless crimes will be lumped in with violent criminals. So the pendulum will swing, until the crackdown on non-violent offenders once again causes a backlash...

  • Berserkerscientist||

    Exactly. Eric Garner is dead because NY's insane "war on loosies".

    When there are more laws, there are more criminal, BY DEFINITION.

  • straffinrun||

    Non violent offenders? Horsepucky. They don't exist. The state wants it's money and you not giving it to them for whatever arbitrary rule they create is violence against the state.

  • Jordan||

    Tony agrees. Not giving is taking, after all! Eric Garner was stealing from all of us!

  • straffinrun||

    OBEY. OBEY. OBEY

    That word gets weird if you say it enough.

  • R C Dean||

    Not obeying is resisting. Resisting is a violent crime. Ergo, there are no non-violent criminals.

  • ||

    Regression to the mean. We had several years of historic low rates. Assuming that not all of the reduction is the result of policy or social changes, there should be a rise to the historical average or trend.

  • JWatts||

    "Regression to the mean."

    That's not applicable if there are underlying trends and the "mean" is actually dropping. Your gas gauge won't randomly jump around the half way point, because it actually measures a changing property.

  • ||

    That's not right at all. If you measure a fluctuating value -- say animal population over time -- you will get a general curve, but specific counts will be off the line. The next count should move back towards the line. There is always the ability to have noise in the signal.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Can I get a gas tank for my car that follows this kind of rule? Never fill it up, and it fluctuates up and down, randomly, around 1/2 full, or 3/4 full? I wanna buy one NOW!

  • kbolino||

    How do you know the "general curve" is a line? Moreover, how do you know that line doesn't have a downward slope?

  • kbolino||

    I think there is a strong case to be made that a change in tactics by the police, prosecutors, and judges which began at the tail end of the 1970s has slowly driven crime rates down. It is not a coincidence that incarceration rates are up. To some extent, we have inverted Blackstone's formulation in the pursuit of lower crime rates. There's more people in prison than ever before; a lot of them don't belong there, but at the same time, a lot of them do*. Of course, this has also effectively shifted a lot of criminal activity into the prisons themselves. It may even be that the rate of criminality has not appreciably changed, but since we only care about crimes committed outside of prison for the most part, the net effect is a drop in the crime rate as far as the general public is concerned.

    * = or, at least, they have done something to merit some form of meaningful punishment, with prison being the contemporary option of choice

  • Harold Falcon||

    Freakonomics examined this. It's probably due to abortion, not harder police tactics. Most people don't belong in prison or being punished at all.

  • kbolino||

    It is not just about the police and "harsher tactics", it's also about the criminal "justice" system in general. I forgot to include legislators in my list of responsible parties, since they have driven a lot of the changes as well.

    The abortion argument doesn't hold a lot of water, since social factors outside of crime have not seen similar improvements. If a significant number of would-be criminals are being aborted instead, then it would affect more than just crime rates.

    It doesn't matter where "most people belong", it matters what the relative changes are in the prison population of then versus now. I have repeatedly stated in the past and strongly alluded in this very same post that I don't think most people in prison belong there. But that is immaterial to my point, which is that, by casting a larger net, more criminals are off the streets and in the prisons.

  • kinnath||

    Send lawyers, guns, and money.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Struggling economy eventually leads to increase in crime.

  • sarcasmic||

    So it is Bush's fault! I knew it!

  • Jordan||

    Green shootings popping up!

  • SQRLSY One||

    Hnh??!

    Or do you mean, since humans emit carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), and are otherwise a generally un-natural hazard to the planet, it is good and right that we should be "green", and pop them off at will?

    Did "Greenie" Al Gore inspire all of these murders, then?

  • Jordan||

    I was referring to the media's obsession with "green shoots" in their quest to carry water for the Fed's bubble economy.

  • ||

    I've always thought that the rise of cellphones was one factor (of many) in the crime reduction. Now that it is easier/faster to report a crime... ok, stop laughing.

  • SQRLSY One||

    I blame the rampant addiction to huffing and puffing on un-prescribed, un-authorized “lung flutes”… A HIGHLY addictive “medical device” which can only be properly, safely used when one’s hand is constantly (figuratively) held by a degreed, credentialed, and licensed physician (lest one get addicted, of course). When these kinds of laws get disrespected, is it no wonder that even HUMAN LIFE becomes less than sacred?!?!? Dis-respect of medical prescription laws is the first step, genocide is the last step! I’m a told ya so!!! Mark my words!!!

    (To learn more about “lung flutes”, use that as a search string, Google at will, or see www.churchofSQRLS.com and search for it there… )

  • SQRLSY One||

    Government Almighty Dammit! I am TOTALLY full of theories today, as to what is to be blamed for the up-tick in murders!

    I also blame "God", and Biblical Literalism for the uptick... Hear me out...

    Our that them thar VALUES of society outta come from that them thar HOLY BIBLE, and it says that God wants us to KILL EVERYBODY!!! Follow me through now: No one is righteous, NONE (Romans 3:10). Therefore, ALL must have done at least one thing bad, since they’d be righteous, had they never done anything bad. Well, maybe they haven’t actually DONE evil, maybe they THOUGHT something bad (Matt. 5:28, thoughts can be sins). In any case, they must’ve broken SOME commandment, in thinking or acting, or else they'd be righteous. James 2:10 tells us that if we've broken ANY commandment, we broke them ALL. Now we can’t weasel out of this by saying that the New Testament has replaced the Old Testament, because Christ said that he’s come to fulfill the old law, not to destroy it (Matt. 5:17). So we MUST conclude that all are guilty of everything. And the Old Testament lists many capital offenses! There’s working on Sunday. There’s also making sacrifices to, or worshipping, the wrong God (Exodus 22:20, Deut. 17:2-5), or even showing contempt for the Lord’s priests or judges (Deut. 17:12). All are guilty of everything, including the capital offenses. OK, so now we’re finally there... God’s Word COMMANDS us such that we’ve got to kill EVERYBODY!!!

  • morganovich||

    so, here's a thought:

    how about we look at the cities that saw a jump in crime and compare them to one another and to the cities that did not?

    what are the common characteristics?

    new police chief? new mayor? big influx of immigrants or new workers? high unemployment? change in social policies? strong economy? weak economy? fights over drug turf? i mean, there could be lots and lots of drivers here. trying to pick one before really looking at the data is just as exercise in post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy and dogmatism.

  • Outlaw||

    Nah, it's black people. They make up 13% of the population but are responsible for nearly half the murders in this country. If you look at the numbers, demographics correlates with violent crime way more than gun ownership levels and laws do.

    Two extreme examples:

    Vermont has loose gun laws yet 0.3 per 100,000 "gun murders"

    wikipedia.org/wiki/ Gun_violence_in_the_United_States_by_state

    Now look at the demographics: White 95%, Black 1.2%

    quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/50000.html

    DC has 16.5 per 100,000

    Now look up the demographics: White 43.4%, Black 49.5%

    You can go down the list using that wiki link and cross-referencing quickfacts and you will see the correlation is much stronger.

    There are other factors, of course, like climate, urban opportunities for more crime, etc. but this is one that the left ignores.

    If you want a more telling portrait search out the demographics of the Top 30 Murder Capitals of America and use quickfacts

    The more diverse an area, the more violent crime it typically has.

  • kbolino||

    The more diverse an area, the more violent crime it typically has.

    Do you know what the word "diverse" means?

  • R C Dean||

    I think it means "leftist", no?

  • Tony||

    Everyone knows the hypothesis that legalized abortion is partly responsible for the mysterious nationwide drop in crime since the 90s. Of course, abortion rates have been in decline for a couple decades, meaning we can expect to see an increase in crime now, and as abortions are more radically restricted, perhaps a return to pre-Roe crime rates. Thanks Christians.

  • sarcasmic||

    If only we killed those criminals before they were born.

  • straffinrun||

    Or before they were an itch their daddy's pants. Wait, what color were the guys that had their Johnson's lopped off by a mob?

  • kbolino||

    So let me get this straight.

    First we create the social welfare state, because people are being "punished" by lack of luxury and we need to help them.
    Then we create the social regulatory state, because people are being "harmed" by the actions of others and we need to help them.
    Then we pay for all of this with onerous taxation, because people are being "exploited" by inequality and we need to help them.
    Then when all this effort to help people doesn't seem to actually help people, we just kill them off because they're inconvenient.

    Ladies and gentlemen, behold the morality of the left.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Progs love eugenics, watch as Tony justifies it in broad daylight.

  • ||

    "abortion rates have been in decline for a couple decades"

    As has crime, genius. Anyway, while I'm familiar with the hypothesis, I'm not sure it 100% holds water. The homicide rate crashed in the 1930s, rose sharply in the 1960s and 1970s, then crashed again in the 1990s. Are we going to attribute all of that to abortion?

  • Tony||

    The idea is that the relationship manifests 18-24 years after more relaxed abortion rights--when men are of prime crime-committing age.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Hi Tony,

    I saw your earlier post on this thread,

    “…meaning we can expect to see an increase in crime now, and as abortions are more radically restricted, perhaps a return to pre-Roe crime rates. Thanks Christians.”

    First off, a slight degree of nuance to add to your thoughts… Not all self-identified “Christians” are anti-abortionists, and not all anti-abortionists are Christians. More accurately, you could have said (obviously sarcastically, in your same mode), “Thanks, busy-body, self-righteous moralistic meddlers!” (Minor point).

    MAJOR point here, though, is this: TRUE literalistic-Bible-thumping Christianity ENDORSES abortions and ALL other sorts of human-killing!!!

    Just look 11 or 12 or more posts upwards, in the current thread, and you can see my theological proof, at SQRLSY One|9.2.15 @ 10:46AM|#

    The root of it, is at the start of my deep theological ponderings… No one is righteous, NONE (Romans 3:10). THERE is your Word of God.

  • SQRLSY One||

    All theologians everywhere, posit that Holy Scripture (“commandments”) address the morally, spiritually aware, AKA, those that have “souls”. Animals and machine intelligences, etc., need not apply. So all of those “commandments” apply to those who have souls. Christians (and others) who, one the one hand, say, “fertilized egg cells have souls”, and on the other hand, say, “and they are God’s innocents, since they have never done wrong”, are flat-out WRONG, they are trying to have it both ways, and are contradicting God’s Written Holy Words! Either they have souls, or they do not! If they do not, we can kill them at will! If they DO have souls, they are included in the commandments in God’s Written Word! And right at the root of the logic I have written out, in Romans 3:10, we see that NONE (who have souls, those being addressed by the Holy Word) are righteous, or innocent!

    So what I am saying, is, you have misinterpreted TRUE Christian theology. TRUE Christian theology says ALL humans are to be killed, fertilized egg cells most emphatically included! When we merely kill fertilized eggs, and refrain from killing the rest, we are just indulging in the usual, sinful ways… Only PARTIALLY attaining God’s Will!

  • Peter||

    Are there any similarities in the cities seeing this spike?
    I don't know, maybe years of single party rule?

  • straffinrun||

    Years of single mother rule.

  • Foo_dd||

    i think the biggest hole with the Ferguson effect theory is simple common sense. are they really suggesting that people who decide to commit murder will be less likely to react negatively to more aggressive police?

  • Rhywun||

    I can think of a few cities that'll be eager to exit the long, hot summer and enter a long, cool fall.

    This summer has been exceptionally hot too. We're in the middle of yet another heat wave here in NYC.

    Too bad fall in the East is like two weeks long.

  • Mike M.||

    Nonsense. This has been one of the mildest summers in the northeast in years.

  • Tony||

    Globally, 2015 will be the hottest year ever recorded, surpassing the next hottest year ever recorded, 2014.

  • Frankjasper1||

    What is this based on? Have you determined the accuracy of the measurements? What if the increase in temperature is within the margin of error from last year?

  • ||

    What is this based on?

    Falsified data mostly

  • Mike M.||

    You've already openly admitted that truth and facts don't matter to you, and now you're just proving it.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Not according to the satellite data but if you fiddle with the ground data enough...

    Wait, tell me about water vapor again?

  • sarcasmic||

    Dude, don't believe your lying eyes. Believe the experts. They're like really smart and stuff.

  • Rhywun||

    This has been one of the mildest summers in the northeast in years.

    My struggling AC says otherwise. 4th heat wave this summer. Zero last summer. Average is 1 or 2.

  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    Zero last summer? I thought last summer had several back-to-back, but maybe I'm thinking of 2013.

    This summer has been great. Several days in the 90s, but it's rarely felt that hot to me. Only a handful of unbearable days, and even those weren't terrible.

  • Rhywun||

    In NYC we have had 21 days over 90 since July 4.

  • R C Dean||

    Agile Cyborg is struggling? Any way we can help out?

  • Rhywun||

    An intervention?

  • Mike M.||

    My struggling AC says otherwise.

    You probably need to replace that air filter.

  • Rhywun||

    Nah, I just made that up. But I am using it way more than usual.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I'm sure I'll get flamed for this, but isn't it possible that the increase in crime might be correlated with the recent uptick in the U.S. heroin trade?

  • Free Oregon||

    Correlation is not causation.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Yes, this could very well be true... But if so, it is only because the black-market costs of heroin are like a factor of 5 K or so higher than what the production costs are. If grapefruits are outlawed tomorrow, the black market in grapefruits will be a root cause of crime.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Also, the heroin up-tick is partially the result of squeezing down on pain pills, AKA "hillbilly heroin." Junkies gotta junk... Squeeze the balloon one way, it pushes out the other way...

  • Bill Dalasio||

    For the record, I don't disagree with any of what you're saying.

  • PM||

    It could also be that mass protests and riots in a handful of large cities made for a more chaotic environment in those localities in which more crime was committed, and police presence didn't have fuck all to do with it one way or another. This is basically like publishing a piece in 1965 with the headline "Experts baffled by uptick in crime in Los Angeles in August". Must be the weather...

  • Frankjasper1||

    Tony is margaret sangerer a hero of yours?

  • ||

    It's Adam and Eve's fault! Obviously no one wants to "trigger" anything here!

  • Free Oregon||

    What if government sets the example for all citizens by arming the police, who then kill citizens, and by telling us over and over that violence is the patriotic and intelligent solution to any international challenge we think we face.

    I used to think violence decreased as economic wellbeing increased. Now I'm not so sure we've seen actual economic wellbeing increase in the last 10 years.

    Or, perhaps, violence is cyclical and beyond the control of any government.

    There are regular cycles. The current Civil Unrest Cycle is set to peak in 2017. The War Cycle, in 2020.

  • SQRLSY One||

    The solution to the endless cycle of violence is,,,

    ... hold yer breath...

    MOAH endless violence!!!! (Government Almighty tells me so!)

    Scienfoology Song… GAWD = Government Almighty’s Wrath Delivers

    Government loves me, This I know,
    For the Government tells me so,
    Little ones to GAWD belong,
    We are weak, but GAWD is strong!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    My Nannies tell me so!

    GAWD does love me, yes indeed,
    Keeps me safe, and gives me feed,
    Shelters me from bad drugs and weed,
    And gives me all that I might need!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    My Nannies tell me so!

    DEA, CIA, KGB,
    Our protectors, they will be,
    FBI, TSA, and FDA,
    With us, astride us, in every way!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    My Nannies tell me so!

  • Phoebem||

    It's true - more factors are at work in varying cities than a blanket "Ferguson-effect" offered by the media. But, there is evidence that a national trend toward violent behavior is affecting some people - for example, the attacks on law enforcement across the country, on journalists - normally quite rare and quite specifically directed, but now seem to be on the rise. So, does that mean that anyone with a grievance feels justified in attacking people they feel are to blame? Why now? T

    he climate of society has changed in the last seven or so years. Fifteen years ago, the murder of a cop would have been cause for outrage across the country and police would hunt the man down like a dog, the country would cheer, and it would be over. Now, the media, the president, along with other race baiters and people who make their living during crises, have encouraged this sort of lawless behavior. Our society's motto has become "I'm gonna get mine or someone's going to pay." This is the "Me Generation" on crack. People no longer respect the property or lives of others and compromise is virtually unknown, as it's unknown to those who run the country. It's my way or the highway.

    So, while I agree with the article in the main, I do see a different kind of violent trend on the rise. And, Chicago? Lost cause. Use 355 as a guide and wall it off. Check back after a year or so and see who's left.

  • Devil's Candy||

    I their a way to objectively measure & correlate an increase in violent crime with the race-baiting appearances by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson at those same locations?

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    What's to blame?
    A return to lenient sentencing regimes - again!
    Some ideas are so attractive that the absolute stupidity involved needs to relearned every generation through bitter experience.

  • Adam Wildavsky||

    Such numbers could be "the front end of a tipping point" -- say no more!

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