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The 2016 Chicago Homicide Spike - Further Explained

Some additional thoughts about how a 2015 ACLU consent decree with the Chicago Police Department contributed to the 2016 homicide spike--responding to tweets from Professor John Pfaff and to comments from the ACLU.

On Monday, I discussed Professor Fowles and my article about what caused the 2016 Chicago homicide spike. Our paper argued that the causal mechanism was likely an ACLU consent decree with the Chicago Police Department, which led to a sharp decline in stop and frisks—and, we believe, a consequent sharp increase in homicides (and other shooting crimes). Since our paper was announced in The Chicago Tribune, distinguished law professor John Pfaff has tweeted a series of comments about our article, and the ACLU has commented as well. I wanted to briefly respond.

A woman holding a child watches as officers transport a person who was shot near the intersection of South May Street and West 58th Street on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 in Chicago, Ill. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)A woman holding a child watches as officers transport a person who was shot near the intersection of South May Street and West 58th Street on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 in Chicago, Ill. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Turning first to Professor Pfaff's tweets, it is useful to start with several points of agreement. Professor Pfaff notes that the causal mechanism we propose—an ACLU agreement leads to fewer stops, fewer stops leads to more crime—is "wholly plausible." So far, so good.

But then Pfaff moves on to criticize us because our model "has only a handful of variables, almost all of them official criminal justice statistics, no social-economic statistics, and all at the city level (despite the intense concentration of violence in Chicago)." Let's address these concerns specifically.

First, as to the explanatory variables in our equations: In our most extensive model, we employ twenty variables—specifically stop and frisks (of course); temperature (since crime tends to spike in warm weather months); 911 calls (as a measure of police-citizen cooperation); homicides in Illinois excluding Chicago (as a measure of trends in Illinois); arrests for property crimes, violent crimes, homicides, gun crimes, shooting crimes, and drug crimes; homicides in St. Louis, Columbus, Louisville, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, Gary, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Detroit; and a time trend variable. All of these variables were based on monthly data, since we were attempting to explain homicide data reported on monthly basis. Interestingly, Professor Pfaff does not suggest any other readily-available monthly data that we could have included. Nor is it clear what sort of "socio-economic" statistics would have been relevant to explaining the homicide spike, which developed over a short period of time. It is true that our variables are not collected at the neighborhood level, but the city-wide level. But since our goal was to explain the Chicago homicide spike, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with looking at Chicago data.

The one specific variable that Professor Pfaff argues we failed to include was the "defunding of Cure Violence [a violence prevention program], which happened at the same time" as the spike. But it is curious that Professor Pfaff would take us to task for failing to look at this issue when, at the same time, he argues that the "best analysis" of the homicide spike was done by the University of Chicago Urban Lab. That (ultimately inconclusive) report specifically stated that "earlier in 2015, state funding for Cure Violence, a violence prevention organization operating in Chicago, was suspended, although the timing of that funding reduction does not seem to fit well as a candidate explanation for the increase in gun violence since the latter occurred at the end of 2015."

Professor Pfaff also mentions that our regression equations simply include (in one model) homicides rates in other cities, without developing difference-in-difference variables or synthetic controls. But there are advantages to parsimonious construction. We doubt whether such controls would have made any difference to our conclusions. Moreover, we relied on Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA) as, at least, a partial response to such concerns. We would be interested to learn what Pfaff thinks of our BMA findings—which compellingly demonstrate our findings' robustness within the included variables.

Professor Pfaff also raises a question about whether we have measured an "ACLU effect" or a "stop and frisk" effect. It is true, of course, that our regression equations explain homicides (and shooting crimes) by using stop and frisk as an explanatory variable. A linkage between stop-and-frisk tactics and homicides is an important finding in and of itself—a finding with which we hope Professor Pfaff might, to some degree, agree. But the logical next question is why did stop and frisks fall in Chicago at the end of 2015? This question is not as well suited to quantitative analysis as other questions, since it appears to be policy-driven. In any event, as Professor Pfaff even-handedly notes, we provide a qualitative defense of our position that the ACLU agreement caused the reduction in stop and frisks. Among other things, this is what the ACLU itself said—at least before the reduction became controversial.

Professor Pfaff also wonders why we do not attempt to quantify the costs of aggressive policing. Our paper explicitly addressed this point, agreeing that proactive policing has costs. But as anyone who has read the stop and frisk literature is well aware, many previous articles have articulated those costs. Our (perhaps already too-lengthy) paper focused on the other side of the cost-benefit equation, hoping to spark a discussion about how to strike a balance among competing concerns.

This issue of balancing competing concerns leads Professor Pfaff to raise a cautionary note about whether our findings are simply, as he puts it, a "Constitutional Effect" rather than an "ACLU Effect." If things were so starkly simple as saying that all the additional stop and frisks that CPD conducted in 2015 compared to 2016 were unconstitutional, Pfaff might have an argument. But, again, our paper was more limited. The ACLU has justified its efforts to reduce stop and frisks, in part, by making the policy argument that there is "no discernible link between the rate of invasive street stops and searches by police and the level of violence . . . There simply is not any evidence of this so-called [ACLU] effect." We believe it is fair to respond specifically to ACLU's claim as part of what must necessarily be a much broader discussion about what are "unreasonable searches and seizures."

We are encouraged by the fact that Professor Pfaff, based in New York City, is concerned about a common argument advanced about the efficacy of stop and frisk in fighting gun violence—that New York's experience proves that no such linkage exists. We explained at length in our paper differences between New York and Chicago:

In 2016, New York's homicide rate was only 3.9 per 100,000 population, while Chicago's was 27.8—a rate more than 600% higher. But the relevant differences between the two cities may be even higher than this already staggering difference suggests. Looking at homicides committed by firearms, in 2016 New York's rate was 2.3 compared to Chicago's rate of 25.1—a rate almost 1000% higher. This is important because, as discussed earlier, gun crimes may be particularly sensitive to stop and frisk policies. In addition, because New York has such a small number of guns and gun crimes (relative to Chicago and many other cities), it can concentrate resources on preventing gun crimes in a way that other cities cannot....

Another problem in equating New York's circumstances with Chicago's is that the level of police power is different. Famously, New York has high levels of law enforcement. . . New York had about 153 law enforcement employees for every homicide committed in the city, while Chicago had only about 17 employees for every homicide committed—about a 800% difference. The difference is even greater if one combines both the gun homicide and police force numbers. Per gun homicide, New York has roughly 260 employees, while Chicago has only 19—well over a 1000% difference. To this point it might be objected that a homicide is a homicide, so it makes no sense to break out gun homicides separately. But homicides are not all alike. To the contrary, in general, homicides committed by firearms are more difficult to solve than other kinds of homicides, only adding to the relative difficulties for the Chicago Police Department. Moreover, in 2016, about 23% of New York's homicides were gang-related, while roughly 67% (or more) of Chicago's homicides and shootings appear to have been gang-related. Here again, gang-related homicides may be more difficult to solve than are other homicides, particularly in Chicago.

Professor Pfaff notes that our arguments distinguishing Chicago from New York "deserve attention."

In several concluding tweets, Professor Pfaff wonders about whether homicides "spiked" in Chicago? Or did they rise steadily? Here we have a section of our paper that quantitatively analyzes this point in detail. After seasonally adjusting the data, we are able to perform a standard structural break analysis on our four dependent variables: homicides, fatal shootings, non-fatal shootings, and total shootings. We are able to find structural breaks in all four data series in and around November 2015.

In responding to each of Professor Pfaff's questions to us, it may be fair to pose a single question back to him. Based on our review of on-the-street reports from Chicago, regression analysis of the available data, qualitative analysis of possible "omitted variables," and relevant criminology literature, we believe that the best explanation for the 2016 Chicago homicide spike was s reduction in stop and frisks triggered by the ACLU consent decree. If this isn't the best explanation, is there a better one?

The ACLU of Illinois has also commented on our paper. Some of the arguments that the ACLU raises are surprising, because the ACLU does not acknowledge that we addressed them at length in our paper. For example, the ACLU points to New York's experience in reducing stop and frisk, writing that we fail to "explain why other cities have undergone similar adjustments to stop-and-frisk without 'causing' an increase in homicides." As the block quotation above illustrates, we offered specific explanations—explanations the ACLU does not discuss.

The ACLU contends that our study failed to "grapple with significant events that coincided with the data" we used. Here again, we were surprised to see a listing of things the ACLU believes we did not grapple with when, in fact, we specifically discussed them in our paper—e.g, the release of the Laquan MacDonald video (pp. 35-42), the change in police leadership (pp. 44-46), the Illinois state budget impasse (p. 52), and the federal civil rights investigation (pp. 42-44). Similarly, the ACLU argues that we failed to assess an Illinois state law similar to the consent degree—a subject we (once again) discussed at length (at pp. 72-74).

The ACLU also notes that we did not include in our regression equations a variable for traffic stops—which increased in 2016 when street stops declined, presumably because Chicago police officers were redeployed from making street stops to traffic stops. We are not certain why the ACLU believes this is an important factor, because traffic stops are not identified in the criminology literature as associated with reducing homicides and gun violence. In contrast, street stops are.

The ACLU also suggests, quite inaccurately, that we are arguing for police to make unconstitutional stops to burden minority communities. But we specifically disclaimed any such position and, indeed, urged that the voices of minority communities receive special weight in evaluating these issues. Our article highlighted the need to hear minority voices on these questions. Here it is worth quoting a passage in our paper that the ACLU appears to have overlooked:

At the same time, however, our findings may be useful to communities in Chicago and other parts of the country that are considering these issues, particularly minority communities. Our research strongly suggests, contrary to claims made by some observers, that CPD's stop and frisk practices have an important effect in providing increased public safety for minority residents in Chicago. For example, if we simply take our finding that extending the stop and frisk practices through 2016 would have saved approximately 236 lives—and if we assume that those saved lives would have been distributed in the same ratios as were found in 2016 for all Chicago homicides—then the lives of about 184 African-American homicide victims and 38 Hispanic victims would have been saved in that one year. Our findings thus suggest that, just as gun violence exacts a disproportionate toll on minority communities, stop and frisk as a response to that violence provides special benefits for those communities—benefits that are often overlooked and may strengthen the arguments of voices within minority communities calling for strong stop and frisk policies.

Finally, the ACLU suggests that our analysis incorrectly attributes the decline in stop and frisks to its agreement with the Chicago Police Department. We find this attack particularly hard to understand. In February 2016, when CPD's decline in stop and frisks was first materializing—but before the full consequences had of the decline had yet to be understood—the ACLU took credit for the decline, calling it a "good thing" resulting from the agreement. Of course, whether or not it was a good thing requires a full assessment of the consequences. We hope that our article provides additional information about the agreement's consequences that will help citizens in Chicago as they consider how best to respond to tragic levels of gun violence in the city. (Download the full article here.)

Update: Michael P pointed out that I had miscalculated some of the percentage differences in the New York vs. Chicago numbers, which I was attempting to report as differences rather than overall percentages. I've fixed those calculations in the block quotation above. The original numbers I quoted are found in Michael P's comment below.

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  • Will395||

    Are you truly surprised at the ACLU's response? Surely you understand that their rebuttal need not actually address the substantive findings of your research, it just needs to give ideologues a sound bite and the sense of assurance that someone with more time has gone through the study and concluded it need not affect their world view.

  • Will395||

    Assuming the stop and frisk policy does raise 4th Amendment concerns, it seems like one solution would be to encourage private ownership of large blocks of land in the most violent Chicago areas. Private landowners can adopt the security measures the community would support. Property values go up, crime goes down.

  • Sarcastr0||

    So you presume the ACLU argues in bad faith, and want to end-run longstanding Constitutional protections through a method that was rejected in the 1940s (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsh_v._Alabama).

    Liberty?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Assuming the stop and frisk policy does raise 4th Amendment concerns, it seems like one solution would be to encourage private ownership of large blocks of land in the most violent Chicago areas. Private landowners can adopt the security measures the community would support. Property values go up, crime goes down.

    Should those private landowners forbid possession of firearms on those large blocks of land?

  • mad_kalak||

    This was the primary legal way that Texas kept freedmen disarmed after the Civil War. The legislature passed a law making it so tenants needed permission to have arms on their property. Since almost all freedmen didn't own their own land, the freedmen were disarmed as they were not given permission.

  • nonzenze||

    Even Texas makes it unlawful to bring a firearm onto private property if the owner has posted compliant signs.

    Only the most extreme (and hence dismissible as not representative of the movement) folks have suggested a right to carry a firearm onto other's property against their explicit command.

  • Naaman Brown||

    "... homicides committed by firearms ..."

    Uh. Homicides are committed by actors with motive and intent with opportunity and means.
    Homicides are not committed by the means.

  • NToJ||

    Pretty confident he means homicides where a firearm was used as the murder weapon.

  • mad_kalak||

    He said "by firearms" instead of "with firearms"......a simple mistake, especially when his intent, I assume, was not to say that the gun was a fault.

  • DKWalser||

    In the quoted phrase, the subject of the verb has been elided. This common in American usage. Other, more obvious, examples include the single word sentences "Stop!", or "Run!" It's not an error to leave out the subject, "You", in these short sentences nor is it an error to leave out the subject in the phrase "homicides committed by firearms". The meaning is clear and only a pedant would suggest otherwise.

  • Michael P||

    "New York's homicide rate was only 3.9 per 100,000 population, while Chicago's was 27.8—a rate more than 700% higher."

    You got percentage differences consistently wrong. Chicago's rate is 710% of New York's, which makes it 610% higher.

    "New York had about 153 law enforcement employees for every homicide committed in the city, while Chicago had only about 17 employees for every homicide committed—a 900% difference."

    No, New York had 900% as many law enforcement employees as Chicago. That's an 800% difference. You have to take the difference of the two numbers to report on the ... difference.

    Lawyers seem incapable of any math beyond what is necessary to maximize their billings.

  • chidiver||

    A math truther....I love it!

    Did a little math of my own on the NYPD vs CPD numbers. This is probably in the paper, but I thought I'd look it up.

    NYPD has roughly 34,000 cops policing a population of 8.6 million over 303 square miles.
    CPD has roughly 12,000 cops policing a population of 2.7 million over 234 square miles.

    NYPD has 3.95 police for every 1000 people and 112 per square mile
    CPD has 4.44 cops for every 1000 people and 51 per square mile

    What does it mean? Nothing. But I was just curious and thought I'd share.

  • Michael P||

    Square miles don't kill people, people kill people.

    Sorry, I felt compelled to share that thought.

  • Jonny Scrum-half||

    Correct. Which is why the main post makes no sense when it says:

    New York has high levels of law enforcement. . . New York had about 153 law enforcement employees for every homicide committed in the city, while Chicago had only about 17 employees for every homicide committed—about a 800% difference.

    The quoted language uses the low levels of NY homicides (relative to Chicago) as a basis for saying that NY has "high levels of law enforcement," when the statistics of police per population don't support that statement.

  • Brendan||

    Don't forget all the special police agencies NYC has - schools, parks, sanitation, hospital, environmental protection, homeless services,

    The School safety division has around 5000 members and the Health and Hospital police number around 1200.

  • arch1||

    Jonny: I am embarrassed that my subconscious picked up on this, but I didn't consciously agree with this point until you made it.

    To measure the level of law enforcement as the ratio of cops to homicides is at odds with common usage. If the homicide rate in October were half that of September and all else stayed constant, no one except perhaps a law professor would say "our law enforcement level in October was double that of September". They would instead say "the homicide rate halved in September while the law enforcement level stayed the same." To talk in this way is not only common usage, it is common sense, as it separately quantifies the levels of law enforcement and crime, which is necessary for an informed discussion.

    By contrast, using the cop/homicide ratio to quantify law enforcement levels (& thus e.g. characterizing a city of 1 million with 0.01 homicides annually and only 5 cops as ten times *more* heavily policed than a same-sized city which has 1000 homicides annually and is crawling with 50,000 cops) enlightens no one, and misleads everyone.

  • arch1||

    oops: halved in September -> halved in October

  • Longtobefree||

    Were there any number of how many cops are actually out patrolling .vs sitting in the station house writing up reports on how the last X number of dogs and civilians shot were in cases where "procedures were followed"?

  • Paul Cassell||

    Thanks for the help -- percentage figures now updated in the post. Thanks again!

  • Michael P||

    Sorry, I didn't mean those examples to be an exhaustive list. "New York's rate was 2.3 compared to Chicago's rate of 25.1—a rate more than 1000% higher" is also in error -- "almost 1000% higher" would be correct. (Chicago's rate is much closer to 1000% higher than to 900% higher than NYC's rate, so it seems reasonable to use 1000%.)

  • Paul Cassell||

    Thanks again for the correction -- I didn't quite have your point as well in mind as I should have.

  • Sarcastr0||

    At this point, the statistics are well beyond my ability to evaluate.

    To me the most interesting aspect is still the responsibility of scientists to look to the policy implications of what they choose to study.
    The idea of science just being 'truth for truth's sake' kinda blew up with Hiroshima. Or, really, in the rise of fascism and associated nationalization of science between the wars.

  • Smooth Like a Rhapsody||

    "...the responsibility of scientists to look to the policy implications of what they choose to study."

    What does this mean?
    Who gets to decide where to gauge the responsibility?
    Are you saying that there are certain truths that we are better off not knowing?

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    ""...the responsibility of scientists to look to the policy implications of what they choose to study."

    "What does this mean?"

    It means that Sarcastro may have been mislead. He thought he was learning to do science, but he was really learning to do propaganda. I blame our institutions.

  • Sarcastr0||

    My preferred science (though not yet what I do) is space telescopes and particle colliders, so whatever dude about being a propagandist. Dick.

    Do you not think Cassell et all were looking towards a policy when they did their study? Why else would they be motivated choose to look into that particular bit of sociology? Does that not mean they are propagandists as well by your definition?
    =======================
    Smooth - research implicates values. Each researcher is making an individual choice, just like any other profession that has a policy upshot, from Congressman to defense contractor.
    =============
    Anyone saying they're 'just seeking the truth' is eliding a lot of choices they've made along the way.
    The frontiers of human knowledge are vast, and that the path one chooses to light in that darkness is a choice with moral implications. Perhaps it's even...expression.

    Does that mean I want this data suppressed, now that it's out? Absolutely not.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    Hey, you're the guy who has been saying that you've taken science policy classes and stuff and were taught to look at the policy implications of data before generating it. I didn't realize that the study of space telescopes involved so much examination of ethics and values.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Sort of does - how much do we spend on stuff without a clear ability to help our citizens, etc.

    But I did surprise myself at how much I bridled at being called a propagandist not a scientist. Which is funny, because I'm a bureaucrat, and not able to do either even if I wanted to.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    TBF I meant that more as a dig at the classes that you cite, than at you.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Saw that. Knew that.

    No worries.

  • rsteinmetz||

    I think studies of this kind do look to the policy implications by quantifying the cost in lives of policies.
    If this study is accurate "stop and frisk" saved many minority lives. That needs to be considered in the debate.

    Too many push policies for ideological reasons ignoring the actual costs in lives and money and without regard to whether they are effective.

    For example we are currently engaged in a nation debate over gun control. Anyone looking at the data will conclude that banning "assault weapons" will save few lives (they account for about 2% of shooting deaths, many of which would likely have happened anyway, simply with other weapons) but based on actual science "stop and frisk" will save more.

    Similarly it is readily apparent that blacks are murdered, overwhelmingly by other blacks, at a rate several times the rate of society at large, and yet people are surprised that blacks are disproportionately represented among convicted of murderers. In fact if you really look at the data you will find that in specific groups within the larger population the disparity is even greater.

    Scientifically valid studies have consistently shown that a large portion of the discrepancy can be explained by socioeconomic factors without regard to race, yet studies continue to focus primarily on race not the underlying socioeconomic conditions again largely for ideological reasons.

  • Sarcastr0||

    You make my point about how pure cost-benefit is not at all how we actually think.

    Your logic works just as well for making guns illegal only for blacks. Pretty sure that'd be a non-starter, especially among blacks. Even though it's more or less scientifically assured it'd save black lives.

    We're not utilitarians. I'm not saying you are doing this, but in my experience people who argue for a policy only on that level are usually cherry-picking and are not pure utilitarians in all things.

  • mad_kalak||

    Hiroshima? Nay, it started with Galileo.

  • NToJ||

    Is reducing homicides not an appropriate policy implication for study?

  • Sarcastr0||

    Awesome thing to study.
    But your choice of granularity seems carefully curated.

  • MonitorsMost||

    @Sacrastr0

    You need to come to grips with the idea that a policy that you don't like doesn't have to be 100% bad and have 0% positive benefits. That's not how the world works. Like it or not, stop-and-frisk has not been found to be per se unconstitutional and some people are proponents of it.

    You might also want to note that as much as you and I disagree on policy with Professor Cassell, he is a serious person and not a law and order zealot. He re-signed from the federal bench based in part on his frustration with mandatory minimum sentences. He deserves more respect than implications that this study is akin to experiments by Dr. Mengele in Auschwitz.

  • MonitorsMost||

    In addition, I'm not even saying that Professor Cassell's study is good. It might be, but it is also beyond my ability to scrutinize it intensely. I am highly skeptical of any research that touches on political policy. It's too easy to intentionally or unintentionally manipulate. See e.g. Fiver Thirty Eight's article "Science isn't Broken"

  • Sarcastr0||

    Cassell can absolutely do studies that advocate for racist policies.
    He can even do so without himself being racist. As I generally find more productive, I argue against the study/post, not the person. His virtue or seriousness doesn't really matter.

    I don't think this is a great thing to advocate for, backed up with data or no.
    ===========
    This study is not on 'stop-and-frisk' it's on a particular implementation of it which looks to be constitutionally suspect as applied.
    =========
    Science is always going to touch on policy, and as such cannot avoid becoming political. This isn't particularly troubling - scientists are citizens, and as science is rather revered these days, they happen to have a bit of an extra voice if they play their PA right, that is all.

  • David Lawson||

    So not only do guns kill, but now studies advocate. I think knowing the cost of our civil liberties is useful, but I've always known that freedom has a price.

  • nonzenze||

    That makes little sense. Scientists have neither the training, the tools nor a mandate to make social policy decisions.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Us citizens like science. Us citizens vote. Scientists bring the science. Some become advocates, and use their vocation in their advocacy, as is their right.

    But they are not free of judgement for that. As is our right.
    =====================
    Regardless of training or mandate, science cannot control when it sometimes gets politicized.

  • nonzenze||

    Indeed. And voters have a mandate to make policy decisions.

    I have no problem with a scientist advocating for whatever they like, I have an objection to the idea that scientists are obligated to do so, or to 'consider' policy.

    This is mostly a plea for epistemic humility -- I did science for a while (decades back) and I don't think my training gave me any particular insight into policy decision. To me, it's ridiculous to assert that a scientist on the Manhattan Project, by virtue of brilliance in particle physics, has a weighty opinion on the ethics or necessity of using the bomb. A training in particle physics does not cover this, and even if it did, they don't have access to any of the information or background available to the policy leaders.

    Of course, the scientists have the right to vote or advocate as they wish. And they surely have the right to resign from an activity they feel is immoral and to oppose it via any democratic means. But so too does Joe Shmoe.

  • Sarcastr0||

    No argument about that. Humility, but not submission.

    It's tricky because the credential of 'scientist' does carry weight way beyond it's appropriate arena of expertese. Great power, great responsibility, etc.

  • DKWalser||

    To me the most interesting aspect is still the responsibility of scientists to look to the policy implications of what they choose to study.
    The idea of science just being 'truth for truth's sake' kinda blew up with Hiroshima. Or, really, in the rise of fascism and associated nationalization of science between the wars.

    Let's assume that the author's motives were impure. (I believe that's a grossly unfair assumption and one you should be obligated to either prove or have the decency to keep to yourself. We disagree on this point, obviously.) So? Are you suggesting that we ought to apply some sort of exclusionary rule to any truth that comes to our knowledge by impure means?

  • Sarcastr0||

    Dunno quite what would constitute impure, but I certainly don't think there is a mote of bad faith here.

    As I said earlier, once the data is gathered, there is no utility in suppressing it or ignoring it. But given the policy upshot here there are many more useful studies to have done.

  • DKWalser||

    It's always possible to claim that some other study would have been more useful. We seldom know that before a study has been completed. Often, we don't understand how useful a study's findings are until years later.

    In this case, I believe the study's findings may prove to be immensely beneficial. There were several ways in which the legitimate concerns with the CPD's stop and frisk program could have been addressed. The method agreed to with the ACLU was only one of those methods. The new approach appears to have made street contacts so administratively burdensome to individual officers that the CPD didn't just dramatically reduce stop and frisk activity, they seemed to reduce all forms of proactive policing. Rather than being on the sidewalks, they retreated to their patrol cars and waited to be dispatched.

    The study indicates there is a lot of potential benefit to the community if the CPD can find a way to return to community-based, proactive policing — while protecting everyone's constitutional rights. There's nothing racist in pointing that out.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Because the study deals with the initial stop and frisk program, it doesn't have much to say about the effects of a putative reformed policy.

    This isn't just a study that's suboptimal use of resources - from the paper quoted in the OP, it was commissioned with an end in mind. Said end was continuing the stop and frisk as it was. I think that's a morally questionable stand to take. And that concern addresses the paper and the study that serves it.

  • DKWalser||

    The study compared two states that actually existed -- Chicago with its stop and frisk program and Chicago under the consent agreement. The study quantified (more or less accurately) the cost in human lives of moving from one state to the other. It was impossible to for the authors to study going from Chicago's stop and frisk program to some other form of community-based, proactive policing that would have addressed the concerns raised about the stop and frisk program. Because such a program wasn't adopted such a 'study' would have been nothing more than speculation.

    Based on their study, policy makers now have data that indicate adopting a more proactive, community-based, form of policing will pay significant dividends to the community. They now have a significant incentive to do the hard work necessary in crafting a policy that would be effective while passing constitutional muster. Unless, of course, your well meaning shouts of racism -- engendered by no more than studying the issue! -- teaches them that no good deed in this arena will go unpunished.

  • Harvey Mosley||

    Sarcastro, I'm curious. Would you be still have said,

    "To me the most interesting aspect is still the responsibility of scientists to look to the policy implications of what they choose to study.
    The idea of science just being 'truth for truth's sake' kinda blew up with Hiroshima. Or, really, in the rise of fascism and associated nationalization of science between the wars."

    if the study had shown that stopping CPD's stop and frisk program had no effect on homicides in Chicago?

    And just to be clear I think the program was unconstitutional and there probably isn't a way to implement it in a way that isn't unconstitutional. I think freedom has costs and is worth those costs. But knowing those costs is important also.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Our article highlighted the need to hear minority voices on these questions.
    ...
    Our findings thus suggest that, just as gun violence exacts a disproportionate toll on minority communities, stop and frisk as a response to that violence provides special benefits for those communities—benefits that are often overlooked and may strengthen the arguments of voices within minority communities calling for strong stop and frisk policies.

    "Minority voices should be heard - particularly the minority voices that agree with me!"

    How does this quote not crossover from science to advocacy? Even beyond the research-choice question, you can't hide behind 'but the statistics are accurate' and then print this.

  • Michael P||

    Sarcastr0 doesn't like cost-benefit analyses. It's much easier to involve the precautionary principle if you do cost-only analyses.

  • Sarcastr0||

    So to you, despite protestations that it's just about the science, it's really about policy. Fair enough, but then you can't use scientific validity as a shield.

    Cost-benefit analysis has it's place, but it is amoral. If you are okay with law enforcement policies that target minorities so long as the benefits outweigh the costs, I've got some bad news about the Bill of Rights.

  • Sarcastr0||

    To expand, the Bill of Rights, despite the rhetoric of some, doesn't short-circuit this analysis nor does it prescribe it's outcome. Instead, it puts a thumb on the cost side of the scale at times, requiring legislatures to find additional justification that it's policies are worth it.

    But it also acts as a moral lodestone beyond it's judicial action.
    Morality and values don't quantified themselves well to be useful in cost-benefit analysis (though sometimes find that rubric useful for framing).

    IMO we don't really operate on utilitarianism - it's more something that informs our more individualistic Kantian worldview.

  • Smooth Like a Rhapsody||

    The problem is, there seems to be a willingness (in your words: "the rhetoric of some") to belittle as nuts people who say we ought not solve the problem by infringing on the 2A, and using as fuel for your argument the notion that the "nuts'" position is a non-starter because it infringes on the 4A.

  • Sarcastr0||

    I call nuts the increasingly common feeling that Democrats are all evil servants of tyranny. Or who think the 2A mandates allowing aircraft carriers for whomever can pay for them.

    As to 2A infringement, do you think I argue that the 4A is sacrosanct? In my post I note that no right is sacrosanct (i.e. it doesn't short-circuit other analysis.) Why should the 2A be different than the 4A?

    If you want to argue the 2A from the moral side as I do the 4A, go for it. In fact, many do so (that's actually where I come down myself)

  • Jerry B.||

    "To expand, the Bill of Rights, despite the rhetoric of some, doesn't short-circuit this analysis nor does it prescribe it's outcome. Instead, it puts a thumb on the cost side of the scale at times, requiring legislatures to find additional justification that it's policies are worth it."

    And this applies equally to the 2nd and 4th Amendments, Right?

  • Sarcastr0||

    It does.

  • apedad||

    "Nor is it clear what sort of "socio-economic" statistics would have been relevant to explaining the homicide spike, which developed over a short period of time."

    I don't expect lawyers to be socio-economic experts, however, you simply cannot dismiss the socio-economic aspect like this.

    Socio-economic data are instrinsic when discussing crime, minorities, policy, etc.

  • y81||

    You can't explain a variable with a constant. (This is the second great law, after correlation does not demonstrate causation.) So please identify what socio-economic variables changed during the period under discussion. Then we can run regressions.

  • apedad||

    Well my point exactly!

    The authors simply dismissed out of hand that socio-economic variables exist--without even looking.

  • y81||

    What variables do you think they should look for that might have fluctuated over the years in question?

  • rsteinmetz||

    Given the relatively short time frame of the study what socioeconomic factor(s) changed so significantly as to affect the results?

    Were people suddenly poorer?
    Was there some great wave of social change which suddenly appeared?
    Was there some event which triggered more murders?

    We know from experience that most of these factors change slowly over time, except in those few instances where something triggers a pent up reaction like "The Long Hoot Summer of 1967" or the riots following the assassination of Dr. King. This "spike" does not seem that kind of reaction.

  • JD85||

    I would posit the spike could be the result of violent actions being more possible after stop and frisk was eliminated, resulting in previously desired violent actions that had been stopped being performed. Now that the pent up actionable violence has been done, the homicide rates will steadily decline back to typical Chicago levels (barring a recession or other economic factor), which is ~ 400-500 murders per year.

    After all, Chicago, prior to 2016 / 2017 had murder rates (starting in 2000) of:
    633, 667, 656, 601, 453, 451, 471, 448, 513, 460, 438, 436, 506, 422, 418, 488, 771, 650.

    If 2018 goes down to a murder rate of 500-530 (current pace) then it is essentially back to historic norms. This paper then shows that stop & frisk, instead of actually stopping violence just delays it, acting like a pressure cooker instead of a teapot.

  • y81||

    That seems a little like saying that medical care doesn't prevent death, it just postpones it.

  • Longtobefree||

    If you are lucky!

  • JD85||

    Not exactly, no. It would be more like a heroin addict who gets the shakes after quitting. It's a terrible affliction, but the body reaches a new state when it's done, and it isn't dead.

    Stop & Frisk enforced a new equilibrium in Chicago, that was unconstitutional, and that people adjusted to. After it's removal a new adjustment period is taking place (and by the looks of things it's going fairly well now, as far as the murder rate is concerned), and levels of homicide are returning to original stop & frisk levels (showing it was never needed in the first place).

    Of course, that's just what it looks like based on 2017 and 2018 to date. In 2020 it could be significantly better or worse, which is why this paper, and it's conclusions, shouldn't be used as the basis for any policy changes.

  • Naaman Brown||

    Those are not rates. Those are total numbers per year.

    FBI UCR murder rate is murders per 100,000 per year per year.

    That allows comparisons allowing for differences in population.

  • JD85||

    The murder rate (and shooting rate) in Chicago dropped from 2016 to 2017, with no appreciable change in policy. In 2018 (for the first 2 months of the year) homicides are down 22% and shootings down 28% from the first two months of 2017, also with no appreciable change in policy.

    Given the decreasing murder rate and shooting rate in Chicago over the last year + compared to 2016, do the authors have any conjecture on the reason?

  • mad_kalak||

    If the the end of stop and frisk in 2015 led to the spike, unless it is reimposed, we should continue to see a higher rate than before the end of stop and frisk. It is reasonable to assume a "honeymoon" period where, with stop stop and frisk eliminated, old scores were settled, followed by a slight decline.

    If the alternate explanations provided for the spike, such as the change in Chicago PD leadership, are at fault, we would expect to see a gradual return to 2014 numbers.

  • JD85||

    A return to 2014 numbers would be surprising, as it was the fewest murders in Chicago in like 50 years. A return to 450-500 murders a year would be much more reasonable.

    Either way, it looks like the conclusions of the paper are already suspect, and should certainly not affect any policy decisions for another 3 or 4 years as the numbers look to settle.

  • mad_kalak||

    Anyone can propose a timeline such that the results of any policy action are ultimately meaningless. This phenomena was sufficiently mature for an analysis. The time to do an analysis is when the results have at least some import, lest you're constantly trying to revise history, and you're not dealing with survivorship bias when it comes to applicable data.

    Suspect, meh, not so much until those 3 or 4 years have passed then. If someone wants to replicate it at that time, they can.

  • JD85||

    It may be sufficiently mature for analysis, in that it shows that homicide rates go up immediately after stop and frisk is removed, but it isn't sufficiently mature for the conclusion the paper leads people to deduce (maybe stop & frisk should go on indefinitely).

    The conclusion could just as well be "after the removal of stop & frisk, any city previously implementing it should expect a year or two of increased violence & homicides, followed by a return to previous levels of violence". It's certainly trending that way now, and if rates continue at their current pace I would expect an analysis performed in 2020 would reach such a conclusion.

    If that is the case, it means the position that police should maybe use unconstitutional tactics to prevent crime, is based on incomplete and misleading data, and was drawn too soon after the removal of stop & frisk.

  • mad_kalak||

    Unconstitutional tactics yes, but you and nobody else at this point has able to show that the analysis is biased due to incomplete or misleading data, nor too soon after the end of stop and frisk, or that racism was somehow involved. Simply put....you need to get over your case of physics envy, because even the best social science doesn't have an high r-squared for anything.

    Furthermore, this was a "natural experiment" and unless we have a city with similar characteristics, murders, and unconstitutional tactics as Chicago, with a corresponding sudden removal of stop and frisk, you can't actually replicate the experiment. But say there was...what you end up with is the knowledge that the removal of stop and frisk will lead to a couple hundred deaths, before murders level off again.

  • JD85||

    I'm not arguing the analysis is biased or misleading. I'm arguing the conclusion of the paper (that stop & frisk has permanent value in stopping violence) is biased and misleading. After only one year the data shows no such thing, and the only conclusion that should have been drawn is that stop & frisk, when stopped, leads to a temporary spike in violent crimes, with further tracking of homicides and violent crimes being used for longer term conclusions. This is particularly true for this case, as we already know that violent crime rates continue to drop in Chicago despite stop & frisk not being restarted.

    I didn't bring up racism.

    The knowledge that stop and frisk will lead to a spike and murder rates when removed is valuable. When other places / people try to argue (as the professors do) that stop & frisk has worth, it can be refuted with evidence showing that not only does it not reduce violent crime rates long term, but it also results in a temporary increase in violence when removed.

  • JD85||

    The first sentence should have read "I misspoke, while the data itself is not biased or misleading, the conclusion of the paper...." I edited it prior to submission, but I guess I did so incorrectly.

  • mad_kalak||

    You didn't bring up racism, correct, but others have. Sorry.

    What I think your saying is that their regression models don't offer enough evidence to support their conclusion. Methinks you're expecting to much exactitude out of social science. They have a tight model with control variables, a causal mechanism, temporal precedence, and good theory (meaning they weren't p-hacking). Moreover, they qualitatively explain the limitations of their conclusions. The result is as good as you're going to get out of economics or political science or even sociology at its best. All you're really complaining about is a lack of longitudinal data....and you're just not gonna get that with a natural experiment.

    Now the quibble is about magnitude of the removal of stop and frisk...its removal will get people killed in the short term. But to your point, we have yet to see if things will go back to the 500 or so murders a year you suspect it will, meaning that there is also a chance that it the removal of stop and frisk will lead to a new higher normal of murders. In other words, there may be long term negative consequences for the removal of stop and frisk.

    So make a reminder on your Outlook calendar for 3 years from now, and check the murder number in Chicago. Give yourself six months for drafting a response, and another 3 for peer review, and submit your paper to whatever journal ends up publishing Cassell and Fowles piece. That's now normal science works.

  • JD85||

    I don't think I'd even have to use a new model. I'll just use the exact one they did and cite them as a source : p

  • mad_kalak||

    I'm all for it, all jokes aside. Replication doesn't get as much credit at tenure committees as does new findings, I wish more people did it.

  • Naaman Brown||

    A survey of 2017 Chicago murderers asking them why they committed their murder (with a number of factors allowed, decline in stop-and-frisk being one in the list) might show some murderers had been deterred by fear of being stopped-and-frisked and getting caught on the street with a gun. But anything else is hypothesis.

  • chidiver||

    Shrinking number of potential targets?

  • JD85||

    Something similar to this would be my guess (see comment upthread)

  • Harry M Johnston||

    JD85 makes an important point. Even just looking at the 2014-2016 data, it isn't at all obvious that there's a spike there that needs to be explained in the first place.

    When I look at the graph in the previous article - and ignore everything other than the homicide rate - it seems obvious that it was already going up well before the "breakpoint" and to me the curve looks pretty darned smooth, regardless of whether you look at the peaks, the troughs, or somewhere in the middle.

    I presume the authors have done some sort of statistical analysis to show that there was actually a statistically significant increase, before attempting to explain what might have caused it, but (with all due respect) it is remarkably easy to get that sort of analysis wrong. So for my part I'd want to see at least one independent analysis of their technique before accepting the results. And of course the new data should be analyzed as well.

  • Naaman Brown||

    As long as the analysis is not done by partisans with an axe to grind.

    I do think there has been a jump to the conclusion that the restrictions imposed in response to the ACLU action are to blame. It could be there are other things of greater or lesser influence and the study seems to have used twenty variables generally considered to affect crime rate.

    Stop'n'frisk without an overt act on the part of the subject of the search, but based solely on profiling people as matching some street criminal profile, has struck me as a blatant 4A violation since the 1970s when it was first advocated as "no right to privacy if the subject is firearms".

  • mad_kalak||

    The ACLU and Pfaff should know about multicollinearity, but I guess not.

  • MightyMouse||

    Maybe law enforcement would be more accountable , and community involvement greater, if the people voted for the chief law enforcement officer directly.

  • Longtobefree||

    Having lived in localities where the sheriff is an elected official, I vehemently disagree.

    Appointed is not a whole lot better, but 'who watches the watchers?' is a problem in all societies. Same thing with electing Judges; not a really good ides, but appointment has issues as well.
    If only we had kept the gene pool going for philosopher kings - - - - -

  • JD85||

    Law enforcement would be more accountable if they were responsible, financially, for their own mistakes. If officers had to carry individual insurance policies (similar to doctors and malpractice insurance) bad apples would be forced out of the system much sooner. Similarly, if lawsuits against officers resulted in money being withdrawn from the department pension plans you would see a lot more officers stopping each other from acting unprofessionally. That or they would try to cover even more up (which is what I suspect would happen at first, but the truth will out, so such behavior is unlikely to last very long).

  • Rossami||

    Agreed. The problem is not who selects them but what consequences can be applied against those who misbehave. Qualified immunity makes it almost impossible to hold any officer accountable regardless of how they got into the job. If police were held to the same standards that they hold the rest of us to, we'd have a lot better system.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "Our article highlighted the need to hear minority voices on these questions. "

    Cop: "Hey asshole! Get up against the wall and spread your legs, you fucking mutt!"

    Black Kid: "But officer! What about my fourth amendment rights!"

    Cop: [Smack!] "Shut the fuck up! Some of the other niggers said we could do this. Hey, what's that under your dick?"

    Black Kid: "My balls, Officer."

    Cop: "Shut your fucking filthy mouth and pull you pants down."

    Of course, the person we should listen to is the person whose fourth amendment rights are being violated. "Minorities" can't waive each other's fourth amendment rights, only the person being frisked can.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    These stop-and-frisk articles, are they pro-gun-control? Because what I can't figure out is how you can have stop and frisk at all, unless what the cops are looking for is something the person frisked isn't allowed to have.

    Another point. Suppose stop-and-frisk does work—whether or not it's constitutionally okay. Meaning that you do stop-and-frisk, which suppresses gun carrying, and homicides go down. Doesn't that make the case that gun prevalence is a causal factor in gun crime?

  • Larvell Blanks||

    "Doesn't that make the case that gun prevalence is a causal factor in gun crime?"

    I don't think anyone disputes that someone who is disposed to commit a crime is more likely to use a gun in the course of such crime if he has a gun on him at the time. Or that he is more likely to have a gun on him if he is confident that he won't be stopped and frisked (particularly if, because of prior convictions or probation, he is not supposed to have a gun).

  • nonzenze||

    Empirical results are not pro or anti anything. They are attempting to map out what real tradeoffs between policies.

    Maybe Paul is right that the empirically work, maybe he is wrong, but the policy decision of whether to implement them cannot be answered by an empirical work.

  • Rossami||

    re: another point - No, that does not make the case.

    Your hypothetical is based on the assumption that stop-and-frisk results in gun confiscations which reduces gun prevalence which reduces gun crime. Nothing in the research above supports that specific chain of causation. It is equally plausible that stop-and-frisk results in increased police-civilian interaction which increases the fear that police will notice blood spatter which reduces shootings or that stop-and-frisk has the de-facto effect of a local curfew which reduces gang prevalence on the streets during periods when there are fewer witnesses or any of a dozen other chains of causation.

    All the research above can say is that they found an inverse correlation between stop-and-frisk and homicides - in Chicago, in the 5 years around one policy decision, to a questionable degree of statistical significance.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Nope. Nothing about confiscation. The stop-and-frisk by itself reduces prevalence, because would-be criminals, or self-defenders without concealed carry permits, will leave the gun home. And that means fewer guns on the streets. Hence, less street prevalence, even though no confiscation.

  • Absaroka||

    "Doesn't that make the case that gun prevalence is a causal factor in gun crime?"

    It would make the case that crooks with guns leads to Bad Things. That's not the same thing as saying guns are bad per se. I recall that you're a fan of the 'every gun owner is just a gun criminal who hasn't been caught yet' position, but most of us can distinguish responsible people from irresponsible people. For everyone who is knocking back 8 beers a night, there are lots or people who just have an occasional glass of wine with dinner.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    So your view is that law and policy ought to distinguish responsible people from the others, and treat them differently on that basis? Please, no tiresome retort that felony convictions are the mark of irresponsibility you had in mind. You didn't say, "distinguish responsible people from convicted felons."

    Nor, by the way, can anyone so far predict whether the guy who has an occasional glass of wine will at some time in the future fall prey to alcoholism.

  • Absaroka||

    "So your view is that law and policy ought to distinguish responsible people from the others, and treat them differently on that basis?"

    Of course! The notion that we would not seems quite bizarre.

    "Nor, by the way, can anyone so far predict whether the guy who has an occasional glass of wine will at some time in the future fall prey to alcoholism."

    Indeed we can't. And what should we do about our lack of perfect prediction? Prohibition 2.0?

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    You've lost me. I'm sure you must have some answer ready, but I'll bite anyway. How do due process and equal protection allow policy to distinguish responsible people from others, and prefer the others?

  • Absaroka||

    Well, I fear you have lost me as well. I replied to "So your view is that law and policy ought to distinguish responsible people from the others, and treat them differently on that basis?"

    We do that - use peoples past to predict their likely future behavior - so ubiquitously that I fear I must be misunderstanding your objection. Among many examples:

    1)We use credit scores (determined by past and current behavior) to predict the likelihood of timely repayment.
    2)Employers and landlords check references.
    3)Why do we lock up robbers? In part, because we think that someone who robbed a bank last week is more likely to rob a bank this week (if not incarcerated) than someone who has never robbed a bank.

    Etc, etc, etc. I don't think you can have a society - human, monkey, or probably ant - where you don't use past behavior to predict future behavior. Maintaining a fiction that Joe's frequent past ax murders have no predictive value about his future actions would be good for serial killers, and pretty bad for everyone else.

  • Larvell Blanks||

    I am always heartened by the left's reaction to any statistical study supporting a theory they don't like -- it shows that, on occasion, the left can actually pretend that they think it is important to closely examine the methodology behind an analysis. If only they would extend that same skepticism to studies supposedly supporting their own positions, like that 20% of college women are sexually assaulted, or that 97% of scientists support the extreme position on global warming.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Same comment, but flip the factions.

    We should all strive to be more objective, and call out when people who aren't.
    But forgive those whose standards follow their wishes as pretty normal humans and don't pretend it's some sort of political own.

  • bernard11||

    My own opinion is that a statistical study that produce the results the researcher clearly was hoping for deserves very close scrutiny. That certainly is the case here, and I wouldn't be surprised if Prof. Cassell agreed with that general proposition.

    As to the other items you mentioned, while they weren't the result of careful research studies, I fully agree that the work behind these and similar claims made by anyone regardless of political views, needs to be investigated before anyone takes the claim seriously.

  • y81||

    Lacking the time to investigate every such claim, as I do, I pretty much ignore all of them, and recommend that course to everyone who has a real job. (Maybe when I retire . . . .)

  • nonzenze||

    Thanks Prof. I will chime in to join you in the limited point of condemning the ACLU's empirical claim about the link between these policies and crime.

    That's about where we part ways, since to my mind the Constitutional limitations are what they are and "instrumental" arguments are besides the point.

    [ Also, as a side note, I wish we could have partitioned the comments in the original thread into distinct categories:

    (1) Those focused on disputing the empirical claim
    (2) Those that believe the empirical claim is irrelevant if the stops are unlawful
    (3) Those that believe that S&F is implemented in a racially discriminatory way, or that discretionary policing might lead to such a result
    (4) Those making ancillary points about poverty/guns/drugs but not taking (1-3).

    All of those topics have merit, but it's just a mess to have them interleaved.
    ]

  • Sarcastr0||

    Barring such a comment partitioning, a taxonomy like that ain't a bad fallback!

    I'd edit (3) to specify that it's the S&F being studied that has the implementation problem - I, at least, am not sure S&F generally is inherently discriminatory (though it may have other fundamental problems).

  • MightyMouse||

    And then there's (5), completely off topic, to which I add, there could be a network of microphones installed on the streets to detect hostile vocalizaions, and then alerts police on patrol to check it out. Anything illegal about that?

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    A big part of Paul Cassell's comment concerns the paucity of policy per killing in Chicago, compared with NYC, i.e., Chicago doesn't have the police presence of NYC.

    Nonsense! That is /not/ a good comparison. Chicago's low number of police "per killing" simply means that Chicago has a higher homicide rate. In fact, any city with excessive killings would -- ceteris paribus -- have fewer police "per killing" than would a city without such an excess. It doesn't explain the excess though it might help explain a low clearance rate. More to the point -- it says nothing about the number of available police per population unit.

    The best measure would be the number of police per unit of population -- say per 100,000 people -- since that would tell us how many available officers there are to actually police the relevant population.

    If we compare NYC and Chicago this way, NYC has 36,000 law enforcement officers for 8.538 million people (2016) -- about 422 cops per 100,000 population. Chicago has just under 12,000 cops (Wikipedia 2012 figures) for 2.721 million people (2016) -- about 440 cops per 100,000. The cities are then roughly equivalent in the numbers cops available to police a unit of population. New York may have "famously high levels of law enforcement," but they are not higher than Chicago's.

  • Naaman Brown||

    If you stick to uniformed officers (presumably the ones that'll be on patrol) the numbers per population are slightly different, but NYPD and CPD field about the same number of officers per unit of population, which should have comparable deterrent, intervention, investigative effect.

    The number of cops per murder struck me as nonsense.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    Naaman Brown: "The number of cops per murder struck me as nonsense."

    It struck me as sleight of hand. Done to get the reader to miss the truly relevant comparison.

  • Tatil Sever||

    Yes, of course, "officers per murder" doesn't explain why homicide rate is high, but with a high homicide rate as the starting point when stop & frisk policy is discontinued, fewer officers per murder *may* explain why it leads to a bigger rise in homicides.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    Tatil Sever: "fewer officers per murder *may* explain why it leads to a bigger rise in homicides."

    The author argues that, but he doesn't actually show how it would play out. He seems to be asserting that Chicago kids are much more likely to carry pistols, and once S&F ended the guns all came out again. But with a homicide rates some 10 times that of NYC, there would have to be a comparably larger stock of guns -- which he doesn't demonstrate. And (I'll finish now) even if he was right to that point, he still doesn't show why NYC didn't have even a smaller rise in homicide with the end of S&F.

    National Review Article -- S&F end is followed by more crime drop

  • Jerry B.||

    I'd be interested in a study researching what would happen to the homicide rates in places like Chicago and Baltimore if most drugs were legalized, regulated, and taxed, non-violent drug offenders were released from jail and their records expunged, and violent offenders got longer sentences to fill up those empty cells.

    Would reducing the profit motive from drug sales, and getting the violent offenders off the street for longer, reduce homicide rates?

  • ReaderY||

    A very, very tiny contribution to this conversation:

    It seems useful to avoid unnecessary side arguments. To that end, instead of talking about an "ACLU effect" vs. a "constitution effect," why not talk about a "judicial order" effect? The argument here is that the judicial order was a primary cause of the change in home code rates. True or not, it really doesn't matter, and it can only be a distracting side-show to argue about, what caused the judicial order, whether it was the ACLU, the Constitution, or what the judge ate for breakfast.

    More neutral terminology would help focus attention on the essential issues and avoid distractions, without changing the essence of the argument.

    Just my two cents. And just for you, special price, two cents off.

  • Tatil Sever||

    @Paul Cassel, I hope you haven't already checked out of the thread.

    Maybe, Cure Violence wasn't a very effective program to begin with, so discontinuing it didn't make a difference, but I'm curious about why you find this conclusion satisfactory:
    "earlier in 2015, state funding for Cure Violence, a violence prevention organization operating in Chicago, was suspended, although the timing of that funding reduction does not seem to fit well as a candidate explanation for the increase in gun violence since the latter occurred at the end of 2015."

    Actually, I'd more surprised if stopping a violence prevention program lead to an immediate rise in murders. Shouldn't we expect a while to pass before the feuds or temptations run their course to a murder after beneficiaries lose access to a personal intervention program?

  • Naaman Brown||

    I suspect a factor may have been that when S&F was pulled in NYC, NYPD worked harder on other programs/policies that may have worked better.

    I sounds to me that that when S&F required paperwork in Chicago, the CPD pulled a "blue flu" sulk and worked less over all.

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