homicide spikes

Explaining the Great 2020 Homicide Spike

While a new report released today by the Council on Criminal Justice downplays the role anti-police protests played in last year's unprecedented homicide spike, a decline in pro-active policing following the protests remains the most likely cause.

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Last year, cities across the country suffered from what I will call the Great 2020 Homicide Spike. Homicide rates were 30% higher than in 2019—an historic increase representing more than 1,268 additional murders (in a sample of 34 cities), according to an important new report released today by Professor Richard Rosenfeld and two colleagues. The new Rosenfeld report explains that this is a "large and troubling increase that has no modern precedent." The previous largest single-year increase in the United States was 12.7%, back in 1968.

After presenting data on the homicide spike, the Rosenfeld report briefly attempts to explain what might have caused it. The report discusses two potential causes: first, the COVID-19 pandemic; and, second, anti-police protests following the death of George Floyd during his arrest by Minneapolis police. But after carefully laying out these two possibilities, the report declines to take a position on which one is the more significant  contributor to the homicide spikes. And then, in a concluding section on recommendations, it focuses on need for subduing the COVID-19 pandemic and downplays the need to consider whether the anti-police protests—and consequent police pullbacks—have played a major role in the deaths of more than a thousand homicide victims.

In my view, the best explanation for the Great 2020 Homicide Spike is a decline in proactive policing–and, accordingly, public policy responses to the spike should specifically address that decline. This post builds on a lengthy paper I published last month in the Federal Sentencing Reporter (which also included responses from Larry Rosenthal and Richard Rosenfeld). My paper relied on data through the summer of 2020, but my position can now be supported with data ending through the end of 2020 based on the new Rosenfeld report.

Let's start first with 2020 homicide data, as no real dispute exists about the fact that last year homicides increased dramatically in most major cities. The report looked at homicide rates in 2020 compared to 2019 in sample of 34 cities. In 29 of the 34 cities, homicides increased–and, in many cities, increased substantially–as shown in Figure 11 from the new Rosenfeld report:

As can be seen, there were significant increases in almost all cities. Because these figures are percentages, however, they can perhaps be misleading for smaller cities.  As the report explains, Chula Vista, California, experienced the largest percentage homicide increase in the sample (150%), but that percentage is based on a difference of just six homicides (ten in 2020 compared with four in 2019).

But staggeringly large homicide increases were observed in many of the country's most populous cities. New York suffered 131 homicides, representing a 43% increase. Chicago suffered 780 homicides compared to its 2019 total of 502, for an increase of 55%.  Los Angeles' homicides were up 37%, Phoenix's up 46%, Philadelphia's up 27%, Milwaukee's up 85%, and Seattle's up 63%. Unsurprisingly, given their size, large cities with appreciable homicide increases contributed disproportionately to the overall increase in murder victims. The nation's three largest cities (New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago) accounted for 40% of the 1,268 additional people murdered in 2020.

While variation exists among the cities, what is most notable is that homicides rose substantially in the vast majority of them. As the Rosenfeld report appropriately concludes: "[L]ocal variations in social and demographic conditions, while important, do not appear to be the primary driving force behind rising homicide rates. National factors must be explored to better understand the increase."

The report then turns to two national factors that might have caused the Great 2020 Homicide Spike: (1) the pandemic; and (2) protests against police violence. Turning first to the pandemic, the report argues that the pandemic may have initially suppressed some homicides by limiting the opportunities for offenders and victims to interact due government-ordered restrictions. Then, as pandemic-related restrictions were relaxed during the last spring and summer of 2020 (or compliance with them diminished), homicide rates increased.  The report suggests that this increase in social mobility was a major factor in the homicide surge, although the report does not include precise data or findings on social mobility.

A major problem with attempting to link the homicide spike to the pandemic itself, however, is the spike's timing. Let's first look at the homicide trend line that needs to be explained.  The new Rosenfeld report provides this graph of homicide trends from 2017 through 2020:

This graph depicts a structural break in homicide trends (the vertical red line) occurring in June 2020 that might appear to correspond somewhat to the onset of the pandemic and related social mobility trends. But this graph–which depicts monthly data–does not allow much precision in identifying when the spike in homicides began. To be sure, homicides increased in the spring of 2020. But given the "seasonality" of homicide (more homicides in summer, fewer in the winter), some general upward trend would be expected.

More informative on the issue of the homicide spike's precise timing are weekly homicide data, reported though October 2020 by Rosenfeld in an earlier report, as depicted below:

This graph depicts the structural break (the vertical red line) in homicide trends–i.e., a statistically significant change in the times series occurring in the last week of May. This graph would seem to identify the increase in homicides igniting at that time–not earlier.

Now let's compare the weekly homicide trends with social mobility data.  Social mobility in the U.S. plummeted in mid-March as the pandemic struck, but then moved back to normal levels at a steady pace from early April through the late summer. Depicted below, for example, is national social mobility data from the last year from Apple, based on iPhone routing requests:

As readily apparent, from a nadir in early April, social mobility rebounded fairly smoothly through the summer of 2020. Given that the pandemic struck in mid-March and social mobility began returning normal levels in early April, the timing of the homicide spike does not appear to coincide with the pandemic. Indeed, the new Rosenfeld report acknowledges that homicide rates increased "significantly" in June, "well after the pandemic began, coinciding with the death of George Floyd and the mass protests that followed."

Other analysis of national homicide trends confirms the conclusion that homicides (and shootings) were largely unaffected by the pandemic's onset. For example, Professor David Abrams has published a detailed analysis of crime data from 25 large U.S. cities for January through May 2020. Abrams concluded that, as of the end of May, "[s]ome types of serious violent crime seemed unaffected by the pandemic onset, notably homicide and shootings."

The Rosenfeld report (and the Abrams analysis just discussed) rely on aggregate data from a number of cities. But it is useful to drill down into particular cities to see if any patterns emerge. I have previously researched homicide issues in Chicago, the nation's third largest city. Here is Chicago's homicide data for 2020:

This graph (taken from the excellent website https://citycrimestats.com/covid/) shows the five-year average for homicides in grey and then the 2020 homicide data in red. Between January 1 and May 28, 2020, Chicago suffered 191 homicides. During the same time frame in 2019, it had an almost identical number of homicides: 192.

Then, as with other major cities, Chicago witnessed substantial antipolice protests a few days after George Floyd's death on May 25, 2020. Four days after Floyd's death, on May 29, demonstrators shut down several downtown Chicago streets. The next day, Chicago protests escalated; one person died and six others were shot. A dozen police officers were injured. These protests "evolved into criminal conduct" (as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot put it) and protesters and looters extensively damaged businesses on Michigan Avenue. The next day, Mayor Lightfoot asked the Illinois Governor to summon the National Guard to Chicago for the first time in fifty-two years. (The last time was during the 1968 riots.) The economic costs of the protests and looting in Chicago through June 1 were estimated at around $66 million.

And a homicide spike ignited. On May 31, eighteen people were murdered and dozens more were shot in Chicago, making it the single most violent day in six decades.  Chicago's 9-1-1 emergency center received 65,000 calls for all types of service–50,000 more than on a usual day. The homicide explosion in Chicago does not appear to follow the more gradual trends, such as modestly changing social mobility patterns linked to the pandemic.

This explosive spike in homicides is also evident in other cities. Depicted below is Philadelphia's homicide data for 2020:

Here again, an explosive spike at the end of May 2020 is evident, although there are also other increases visible in the Philadelphia data (which is the proverbial "noise" in data that always attends research of this type).

Similar patterns can be observed in data for the first cousin to homicides–shootings.  Here is Minneapolis shooting data for the relevant period:

And here is New York City's shooting data:

These are obviously sudden changes in trends, not gradual ones.

If changes due to the pandemic do not explain the nation's explosive homicide spike, what does? The Rosenfeld report readily acknowledges the other leading hypothesis: That following George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020, anti-police protests led to a decline in policing. This hypothesis is what I (and others) have called a "Minneapolis Effect"—that is, as police protests spread around the country, police had to be redeployed from their normal duties to help manage the protests. And, more expansively, even following the protests, "proactive policing" declined.

Measuring a decline in proactive policing is difficult. Not all police agencies report good data on policing. And there isn't a single measure of proactive policing that captures all varieties of police work. But it is possible to get some general sense of changes in policing in 2020. Important measures of proactive policing generally show a post-protest decline. For example, the chart below depicts total arrests by the Chicago Police Department.

As can be seen, in mid-March the pandemic's onset triggered a sharp decline in arrests. Then, beginning in April, arrests climbed toward pre-pandemic levels. But at the end of May, that return to normalcy was interrupted and arrests plummeted, never to again regain traditional levels.

Here's another similar trend line showing sharp reductions in policing at the end of May, this one depicting street stops by the Los Angeles Police Department:

Here again, LAPD activity (as measured by total persons stopped) dropped below normal levels (depicted in the grey line) beginning around mid-March. During April stops returned to expected levels, equaling normal levels just before the last week in May. But then, suddenly, pedestrian stops declined well below normal levels, where they have remained ever since.

Once last graph will show a similar trend line–this one for traffic stops in Philadelphia:

Here again, the pandemic-induced decline in stops appears in mid-March, followed by a return toward normal levels in April and most of May—only to see a steep drop to well below normal levels after the start of anti-police protests. And this drop coincides exactly with the onset of the Great 2020 Homicide Spike.

Against this backdrop, a "de-policing" explanation readily emerges as the triggering event for the sudden increase in homicides in late May. In the wake of the antipolice protests following George Floyd's death in late May, less proactive policing occurred. For example, police had to be redeployed to manage the protests, diverting them from antigun patrols and other activities that deter the carrying of illegal firearms. And even after the protests began to wane, police pulled back from proactive policing—that is, from self-initiated policing methods designed to reduce crime by using preventive strategies, such as street stops or antigun patrols. In addition, beginning at the same time, law enforcement capabilities were diminished by reduced funding and other setbacks (such as increased retirements due to demoralization), again due to the anti-police protests. The consequence of reducing law enforcement activity directed against gun violence has been, perhaps unsurprisingly, an increase in gun violence.

Since I articulated my "Minneapolis Effect" theory several months ago, an important new paper had been published supporting my conclusions. As a companion piece to my article in the Federal Sentencing Reporter, Professor Lawrence Rosenthal published an article entitled "The Law and Economics of De-Policing." In his article, he points to "mounting evidence for what some have dubbed 'De-Policing'—police retreat in the face of hostile public scrutiny, often in the wake of a highly publicized incident of police misconduct." He also concludes that the law and economics of policing suggest the most likely mechanism for the decline in law enforcement activity: "Because police officers internalize few, if any, of the benefits of effective policing, when they perceive a risk that they will be made to internalize its costs, over-deterrence is the likely outcome."

Also supporting the de-policing theory is the seemingly puzzling pattern of crime trends in 2020, developed in today's Rosenfeld report. During 2020, homicides dramatically  increased (up 30%), as did the somewhat related crime categories of gun assaults (up 8%) and aggravated assaults (up 6%). On the other hand, declines occurred in many other crime categories, including robbery (down 9%), residential burglary (down 24%), non-residential burglary (down 7%), larceny (down 16%), and drug offenses (down 30%).

The Great 2020 Homicide Spike looks eerily similar to the pattern of crime increases during the 2016 Chicago homicide spike. As Professor Fowles and I explained in an earlier paper about Chicago crime trends, in 2016 stop-and-frisks fell dramatically in the Windy City following an agreement between Chicago Police and the ACLU. And, as a consequence of that agreement, homicides and shootings dramatically increased, while most other crimes did not. The 2016 Chicago pattern may thus provide a key for unlocking an answer to why rates for some crimes spiked in the U.S. last year while others did not. As the 2016 Chicago homicide spike demonstrates, proactive policing (e.g., stop-and-frisks) plays a uniquely important role in deterring the carrying of illegal guns and thus preventing firearm crimes. When stop-and-frisks plummeted in Chicago in 2016, gun violence spiked (but not other crime categories). So, too, in the summer of 2020, as proactive policing declined across the country, gun violence spiked (but not other crime categories).

Today's new report about 2020 crime trends acknowledges the possibility of de-policing–as does an earlier paper by Rosenfeld.  But today's report seemingly discounts the issue, noting that "the connection between police violence, protects and social unrest, and heightened community violence remains uncertain." (p. 16). At some level, this point is true. Social science research is often unable to reach definitive conclusions. But the issue for policy makers today is how to respond to the dramatic homicide spike–and policymakers do not have the luxury of waiting until perfect knowledge exists.

To my mind, the major flaw in today's Rosenfeld report is its concluding section, which makes policy recommendations. The section calls for "bold action" to respond to rising homicide rates, But rather than presenting a bold response, the reports offers three anodyne recommendations–recommendations that unfortunately seem to steer clear of directly addressing de-policing issues.

The first recommendation calls for "subduing the coronavirus pandemic." No one will disagree with that proposal. But for reasons explained above, the pandemic does not appear to be the main cause of the homicide spike and thus subduing it will not address most of the problem.

The Rosenfeld report's second recommendation is "improving the fairness and legitimacy of the justice system in general, and policing in particular." This is a good idea, to be sure. Indeed, I doubt anyone would disagree with improving the "legitimacy" of our criminal justice system in general. But, again, this proposal does not provide helpful guidance to policymakers seeking to respond immediately to the sharp increase in homicides that has manifested over the last seven months. Issues surrounding "legitimacy" of the system ebb and flow in long term cycles that seem unrelated to the current spike.

The final recommendation is that "responses to record-breaking increases in homicide must not wait. Policymakers can and should address the pandemic, police legitimacy, and violent crime simultaneously. A large body of rigorous empirical evidence demonstrates that violent crime can be addressed using strategies that are available now and do not require significant budgetary outlays, new legislation, or deep systemic reforms." This recommendation is apparently based on a footnote to one of the co-authors on the Rosenfeld report–Thomas Abt, who has written an informative book, Bleeding Out. But that book, written in 2019 before the pandemic, offers a series of proposals designed to reduce homicides generally, such as by expanding social services and anti-violence programs. To be sure, preventing homicides is obviously a good thing. But general approaches obviously are not targeted to a specific problem that sudden arose during the last half of 2020. The Rosenfeld report fails to explain clearly what countermeasures would be effective in specifically combating the nation's recent homicide spike.

Indeed, one interesting point is that Abt's book discusses the importance of "hot spot" policing, explaining that "[w]hether a hot person carries a hot gun in a hot spot depends on, among other things, supply and demand. To reduce the demand for illegal firearms among dangerous people in dangerous places, the risk of apprehension must be high." This suggests that if recent anti-police protests have reduced the risk of apprehension for carrying illegal firearms or for committing gun crimes, the likely result is an increase in gun crimes. Thus, the Rosenfeld report seems to be suggesting (sub silencio) that we need more "hot spot" policing–although that point is not specifically mentioned. I wish the Rosenfeld report had more pointedly called for expanded proactive policing, as that seems to be the clear and immediate need in this country.

While today's report is unduly limited in its recommendations, I hope that the report will lead to further research on last year's homicide spike. Given the wealth of data that are available, time series regression analysis should be able to shed further light on what caused such a dramatic increase in homicides over such a short period of time. To be sure, time series analysis of events in 2020 will be difficult, given that COVID-19 has disrupted so many aspects of American society–including criminal justice.  But difficult does not mean impossible. Research should be able to disentangle the competing effects of the various events in 2020, allowing policymakers to have a better understanding of why homicides sharply increased last year.

While highlighting these points of possible disagreement with today's report, I want to conclude by emphasizing a point of strong agreement between me and the Rosenfeld et al. The new report concludes that the Great 2020 Homicide Spike led to 1,268 more deaths in the sample of 34 cities than in the year before. In its last sentence, the report finishes with the plea that "[w]ith so many lives at stake, the time to act is now."

I wholeheartedly agree–and have argued in my earlier paper for immediate responses to spiking homicide rates. It is time to act now, as many lives are, indeed, at stake–disproportionately the lives of victims who are of color, residents of inner cities, and impoverished. But that immediate action must be clear-eyed about why so many additional victims were murdered last year. The best, currently available evidence strongly supports the conclusion that the Great 2020 Homicide Spike resulted from the widespread anti-police protests, which in turn lead to a reduction in policing activity directed at fighting gun crimes. To save lives in 2021, we need urgent action to restore proactive policing to its pre-protest levels.

Update: I fixed a typo in an earlier draft, where I stated Chicago suffered 278 homicides in 2020. That was the "delta" or additional number of homicides for 2020. The correct number of total homicides for Chicago in 2020 is 780, up from 502 total homicides in 2019.

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  1. “The people have spoken…and they must be punished” New York City Mayor Ed Koch (1924-2013).

    Very apropos to this topic.

    1. Ed Koch believed that punishment deters crime. But we have grown softer on murderers, due to criminal justice “reform” measures that have reduced the amount of time many offenders spend in prison for murder — especially youthful killers (those below age 25), who comprise 40% of all murderers, who are now eligible for earlier release in states like California (and soon, Washington, DC). For a discussion of how soft-on-crime policies have reduced prison sentences for homicide over the last couple years, see this link:
      https://cnsnews.com/commentary/hans-bader/murder-rate-rose-37-us-cities-2020
      Also, the prison population fell from 2.1 million to 1.8 million last years, due to COVID-19 and criminal justice “reform,” according to the Vera Institute of Justice. That resulted in some dangerous criminals being released, giving them the ability to murder other people. Meanwhile, parole has been expanded for 16-17 year-old murderers in many states, and for 18-24 year olds in a smaller number of states.

  2. Dear rest of the world, we don’t have a gun problem, we have an “inner city” problem.

      1. It is definitely gaslighting to say we have a gun problem.

    1. Well, the problem is bad folks with guns.

  3. The police and their allies have turned it into an either/or, in which the only two alternatives are that innocent black people get the crap kicked out of them, or homicides go up. But those are not the only two alternatives.

    Yes, there are some on the fringe calling for the police to be abolished. Most people within BLM and its supporters understand that the police do a valuable service. They just don’t want members of their communities who aren’t doing anything to be choked, punched, tased, or have knees put on their necks, shot to death or attacked by police dogs.

    And I would like to hear opponents of BLM at least acknowledge that police violence against minorities is a real problem.

    1. Okay. It is a problem. Now, how much of it is a problem compared to actual homicides? What exactly do you mean by “police violence”? Do you mean the lawful use of force to compel compliance or the unlawful use of force to compel compliance…there is a Grand Canyon’s worth of difference between the two.

      Let me propose an inequality. Human life > police violence.

      1. Do you mean the lawful use of force to compel compliance or the unlawful use of force to compel compliance…there is a Grand Canyon’s worth of difference between the two.

        Is there? I’m not convinced there’s a bright line, and maybe some things that are lawful shouldn’t be.

        Besides, have you read all the QI cases discussed here?

        1. There is a bright line, if you’re enforcing a law, you have the authority to compel compliance if it is a valid law on the books. Don’t expect cops to be law professors, and certainly don’t expect them be Solomon-like in their interpretations and applications of laws. They are street level bureaucrats. They are not heroes, they are all human, and moreover, they are bound to be as corrupt as, depending on where they work, as the system that pays them.

          This is why the profusion of laws is a problem, because ultimately every law when confronted with non-compliance in the face of a desire to compel compliance will result in lethal force being used, usually in a gradually escalating manner, but often right away.

          Now, to your point about unjust laws; that’s a deep philosophical debate. By which standard do you say an unjust law is not a law at all?

          1. It’s almost impossible for a law enforcement person to use too much force in compelling compliance. Consider the death of Daniel Shaver and the fact that his killer was re-hired by the agency that fired him. Or consider Chauna Thompson who helped her husband crush John Hernandez to death (probably a combined load of about 500#) and had murder charges against her dismissed while her “civilian” husband got 25 years. She was hired as a police officer in Somerville, TX and last year turned up as a security guard in Humble. Or consider the death of Dillon Taylor — shot for playing his music too loud and the ever popular “reaching for his waistband” while unarmed. Taylor’s family sued Salt Lake City but the case was tossed because, as the Salt Lake City Tribune reported, “the judge dismissed the case Friday, saying that because the city officer didn’t violate any laws or constitutional rights by shooting and killing Dillon Taylor, the city can’t be held liable for the officer’s conduct.”

            You may think that there’s a bright line, but you seem to think a lot of things.

            1. You’re shifting the debate to different terms. That’s understandable when you’re losing on the original ones. The bright line is what is legal and what is illegal. Is that so hard?

              Interesting anecdotes. They help prove my point…that any law, when enforced, will ultimately result in lethal force (slowly or gradually) for failure to comply with a legal mandate to enforce it. Therefore, we should have less laws on the books. I’m not the first to make this claim, btw, it’s a common libertarian trope. That guy shouldn’t have been told by police to stop selling loosies, get it?

              Also, you seem to be lost in the wilderness here. Since efficient policing that uses, like Goldilocks, JUST ENOUGH force to compel compliance with a law, but never a hair more, is impossible, how much do we back off enforcement with the trade-off there being more homicides?

              The more you de-police, the more murders, the more you police, the more excessive use of force incidents occur. It’s impossible for anything other to happen.

              I propose that less murders but more excessive use of force incidents is the trade-off I’d like to make. Others want less police and therefore less use of force incidents, but the result is more murders. The problem is not the trade-off itself, but a refusal of people such as yourself to own the results of the policy decisions they made.

              1. Jesus Christ on a pogo stick.

                You claim,”Grand Canyon’s worth of difference” and that there’s a bright line. When it is pointed out to you that that is a stupid position to take because it is at odds with reality, you claim that I refuse “to own the results of the policy decisions” that I’ve made when even a moderately retarded Labrador retriever could explain to you that I’ve not advocated any policy on this topic. I will observe, however, that I refuse to accept that there must be a choice between widespread civil rights abuses by police and skyrocketing homicide rates.

                1. even a moderately retarded Labrador retriever

                  That’s redundant (not that it makes labs any less lovable).

                  1. We had Labradors starting in 1974 continuously until about a year ago. There are really smart ones and there are really dumb ones but every one that we have had has been a wonderful creature. Now, we have a smaller dog.

                    1. Yeah, I was just having a little fun with canine stereotypes. I’ve owned dogs my whole life (usually more than one at a time), and by far the least intelligent one I’ve ever had was an Irish Setter. She was a beautiful animal, loyal and lovable to a fault…but as dumb as a bag of hammers.

          2. Well, OK, there is a “Grand Canyon” between the two in terms of consequences to the cop. But I was referring to the nature of the force and the consequences to its subject. Police violence runs across a spectrum of “acceptability,” and just because there is a legal line – not as clear in fact as in theory, incidentally – doesn’t mean we should pretend that what is legal is OK.

            It’s perfectly reasonable to protest against abuses even if the legalities somehow work in the cop’s favor.

            I could have been clearer, I guess, but that’s what I thought was under discussion.

            1. Calling it “police violence” is wrong. Would you call a boxing match “violence” when it’s legal, legitimate, and acceptable? It’s only “violence” when it is not what is accepted by the rules, like Mike Tyson biting Evander Hollyfield’s ear, despite them trying to bludgeon each other to unconsciousness. It’s “use of force”. That’s the term that is used in policy discussions on this, and the term you’d find in a police handbook.

              Use of force is legal, in fact is has to be because we expect cops to enforce a law against someones’s will if necessary. It is only illegal when it’s done in against law/policy. Regardless, the new police reform movement is headed in the direction you want, because they are working to reform what force is acceptable and what’s not.

          3. mad_kalak (or any other conservative who wishes to respond): This is an honest question. I have never understood conservatives who are pro-police. In any other context, conservatives understand that government employees are lazy, incompetent, abusive, and cannot be trusted. Well, police officers are government employees (I completely agree with your characterization of them as street level bureaucrats), so using that yardstick, I would think conservatives would advocate watching the police like hawks and giving them as little power as possible.

            Yet that is not what I hear from pro-police conservatives. So can you please explain this disconnect for me?

            1. Frankly, I despise the police, and I was an LE officer for years. But I’m not sure I’m really a conservative these days.

              But it’s not hard to understand why conservatives support the police. Police support the existing social order, which conservatives want to conserve. This is slowly breaking, though, as conservatives (sorry to bring this up, but it needs to be said) saw the police used by Democrats to do things like throw election observers.

              Also, it’s tied into gun control. Why should any gun owner have to give up his guns when an inner city yo is shooting some other inner city yo? Let the police, police, and leave my guns alone.

              1. ” police used by Democrats to do things like throw election observers. ”

                When the untrained and unsupervised “election observers” were being disorderly and obstructing the process. Read the Detroit Free Press accounts of what went on when they were trying to count the votes. Roger Stone would have creamed his jocky shorts, if he was wearing any.

            2. Police protect us [however imperfectly] from bad people who take our money or our lives.

              Other civilian government government employees [fire, EMS and a few other exceptions] are bad people who take our money.

            3. In any other context, conservatives understand that government employees are lazy, incompetent, abusive, and cannot be trusted.

              You’re likely confused by the fact that the positions of most people (conservatives included) aren’t so simple-mindedly absolute as you’re attempting to portray them. I know a lot of conservatives, and I don’t know any who are categorically “pro-police”. Most are supportive of law enforcement who do their jobs without abusing their authority, but that’s not something that can be described in such black-and-white terms as being “pro-police”. They also tend to differentiate between difficult field jobs and pencil-pushing bureaucratic positions, political offices, etc.

              1. Wuz, that was wonderful. Usually you just come here and insult people, but this time you made a well reasoned, well articulated argument. Thank you.

    2. Sure. Yet nothing was turned over in these cities’ governments.

      Indeed, they seem to have done things that exacerbated deaths and violence, in numbers far in excess of the police violence complained about.

    3. Yes, there are some on the fringe calling for the police to be abolished

      “Some on the fringe” like over a dozen major cities at last count? Or does it only count if they’re completely eliminated as opposed to just having their funding slashed to the point where they effectively turn into an call center?

      1. Gonna need a cite on this one.

        1. Sure, here you go.

      2. If you are talking about calls ” for the police to be abolished,” it does only count if someone is calling ” for the police to be abolished.” This is not a hard problem nor is it a subtle point.

    4. Sure police bigotry and violence is a problem. But it was no different in 2020 and 2019. You know what was different? Lockdowns.

      I can’t believe the author, and the authors he mentions, say nothing about canceling school, closing businesses, increasing unemployment, shutting down recreational activities. This last is especially important when you have so many kids at loose ends. They closed down gyms, dances, concerts, movies, all crowd activities except …. rioting!

      Yes, folks, that is indeed what happened. All recreational activities were shut down, kaput, verboten … except rioting, burning, looting, and murdering, which was all explicitly and officially encouraged by Democrat mayors and governors. Yes, even murder, I do recall a few statements encouraging killing whites and Republicans.

      No need to look any further. If you do think you need to look further, I suggest in a mirror.

      1. Midnight basketball, recipient of awards to keep kids off the streets, shut down for covid, presumably, and a hundred similar programs.

        1. How about universal basic income for anybody who doesn’t shoot someone else. Sounds like a good plan!

          1. DC proposed doing just that, paying kids who did not engage in violent crime. I do not know if the program was ever implemented.

            1. That was the attempted joke. Sarcasm and irony are hard on the internet. One step further, there are even programs that target, and pay, repeat offenders and likely criminals to not commit crime.

              1. *by hard, I mean hard to convey, which I didn’t do an adequate job of doing.

    5. “And I would like to hear opponents of BLM at least acknowledge that police violence against minorities is a real problem.”

      You could consult Reason’s archives to find plenty of instances of wrongful or even homicidal police violence – with victims from different races.

      If you’re interested, Reason’s proposed solutions did *not* involve riots, looting and deadly violence, but boring things like punishing the criminal cops. Houston authorities are doing something in that direction, and they probably weren’t spurred on by the threat of riots, since the victims in that case were a white couple.

      1. But hardly anyone in BLM is calling for riots or looting as the solution either. You are again creating a false alternative that needn’t exist. Yes, there are riots and looting, but the overwhelming majority of those calling for police reform have the same opinion of riots and looting that you do.

        1. BLM was founded and is run by Marxists. If you think Marxists are so peaceful, go join them in the hellhole of your choice. Your trying to excuse them for wanting to create Marxist hellholes here just won’t wash.

          1. Yelling Marxists to prove violent intent is making quite a few assumptions.

            Actually, it’s not. Because it’s really just invoking tribalism to avoid engaging.

            Like, I do think Communists are wrong and bad, but Marxists is not even really a thing.
            It’s a telling switch to start talking about Marxism when you mean Communism since he talked about a bunch of techniques of analysis that are legit used in academia today.

            Congrats on your new and lame extension of the culture wars.

            1. Yelling Nazi or fascist to prove violent intent is making quite a few assumptions.

              Actually, it’s not. Because it’s really just tribalism to avoid engaging.

              Like, I do think Nazis/fascists are wrong and bad, but Nazis are not even really a thing. It’s a telling switch to start talking about Nazism when you mean fascism since he [Hitler] talked about a bunch of techniques of analysis that are legit used in academia today.

              Congrats on your new and lame extension of the culture wars.

              1. …Did you think I’d disagree with this?

                1. Gosh! Sure you do. Leftists such as yourself need to stop yelling fascist and Nazi all the time at everything they disagree with. Don’t you get the idea of me copying your exact words with only key changes?

                  1. Has Sarcastr0 ever called you a fascist or a Nazi? Indeed, I’m not sure Sarcastr0 has ever called anybody in the VC comments a fascist or a Nazi. He seems to be a pretty polite fellow, even when politeness has not been earned. Don’t believe I’ve ever called anyone here a fascist or a Nazi either, though I might have as I’m not nearly as polite as Sarcastr0.

            2. Let’s see … Marxism begat Communism, and nothing else.

              Communism begat misery, 100 million deaths, more ongoing misery, and nothing else.

              Oh wait, yes, Marxism did begat something else … Burn Loot Murder riots.

              1. Maybe look up a bit about Marx before you make more of a fool of yourself.

                …Oh, I see you went with ‘Burn Loot Murder.’ Well, I’ll leave you to your proud angry ignorance then.

            3. Marxists is not even really a thing

              Bad grammar aside, tell that to all those academics who brag of being Marxists. I suppose they is[sic] just funning us all.

              Congrats on such a[sic] ancient and noble big lie.

              1. Unless we are on a thread talking about non-political things, when you read what Sarcastro writes, you’re not actually reading his thoughts. He may believe their his thoughts and conclusions, but they are really not. They are a regurgitation of the talking points of others as amalgamated. It’s like you’re not actually debating Sarcastro himself, you’re debating what other people tell him to think.

                1. He can’t escape responsibility for words he enters, whether his own or copied. He’s said other similar things, and never responded to criticism or being caught out, which makes me thinks he’s a far left loon who thinks Marx was just a misunderstood kindly old man. Usually he manages to keep his tongue, but every once in a while, some biting comment loosens his true thought. I am a bit honored that my comment did the trick this time.

                  1. Caught out about what? Noting that your BLM is Marxist bullshit is shit from a bull?

                    Your ‘Marx was just misunderstood’ strawman is also noted, and pretty lame.

                2. Thanks for telling me what I’m thinking, m_l.

                  I do you the service of thinking you have mental agency, but you’re so weak you cannot do the same for me, it seems.

                  1. Did you just blame me for not thinking, and then blame me for not letting you think?

                    Marxism has a track record from which it will never be divorced. BLM chose to endorse Marxism. Your attempts to apologize for both are pretty funny.

                  2. Well, you type what comes out of your consciousness, such as it is, and we read it. At least sometimes. These days I scroll past your comments because they add nothing. I’m not sure there is an original thought amongst them unless you’re getting down to some microscopic dispute of fact. I get it, we all all slaves to some dead economist to one extent or another, but I you do not elevate yourself above the ideas bequeathed to you.

                    Worse than that, you don’t *listen* to what someone else is saying. Or in this case, read what’s said by someone on this board to you. Instead, you’re waiting your turn to speak.

            4. Meanwhile there you are with no thoughts of your own to offer on the murders.

              No doubt your solution would involve voting for the same people who were in charge of the cities for the last 20 years. Plus continuing to support a unionized education status quo that systematically deprives poor Americans of any opportunity to have a better future.

              It’s not professionals with law degrees being murdered. So not really a priority.

              1. “It’s not professionals with law degrees being murdered. So not really a priority.”

                Damn…harsh.

                But spot on.

                1. And it’s not Kraken heads getting the Sandra Bland treatment. That trade you’re suggesting, more police brutality and excessive violence in exchange for white lives. I’ll bet I know which side of your bread has the butter on it and it’s not both.

                  Of course, you’ll probably reply that minority communities are most affected by increased homicide rates. True enough, but don’t pretend that you care.

                2. If they could turn it into a coherent anti-Trump story, you’d already have seen a lot of blog posts about the murders.

                  But it’s just dead and suffering Americans and they can’t pile up the corpses to spell “Orange Man Bad”, so not a word from Whittington and the rest of them.

                  1. Yeah, poor, poor Dildon Trump, persecuted by the leftist Marxists and their rino collaborators at every opportunity. It’s almost as if he’s an early Christian being pursued and hounded by the evil tentmaker Saul of Tarsus.

                    1. Nothing to say about Americans getting murdered, but mention Trump and Stellalink is outraged!

          2. Sorry, no one who thinks Marxism has anything to do with this deserves to be taken seriously.

            1. Tell that to the BLM founders and chiefs, who bnought Marxism with them. Go ahead, tell them they don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

              1. OK, so you understand neither Marxism nor BLM.

                There probably are Marxists in BLM, but that is not the same thing as saying it’s a Marxist movement, any more than the presence of Baptists in Congress makes it a Baptist organization. Rather, that’s determined by its goals. And the goals of BLM extend no further than ending police brutality against minorities.

                Of course, we were told back in the 60s that allowing blacks to vote was Marxist too.

                1. Would you consider Jesus a Christian? Or did the last true Christian, as Nietzsche said, die on the cross?

                  1. Not that this has anything to do with the topic at hand:
                    “Would you consider Jesus a Christian? ”

                    Whatever else he was, he was a 1st century Jew. Christianity didn’t come into existence until long after his death, however it occurred.

                    Perhaps I’ve missed something.

                  2. I consider Jesus the least of the Alou brothers — never a batting champion — but a handy player nonetheless.

                    Nitzsche? I always liked his work on You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

                    1. I always thought he played pretty well as a linebacker for the Packers

                  3. mad_kalak, sorry for the delay in responding but I’m just now seeing this. You’re first going to have to tell me what you mean by “true Christian” since there is wide disagreement, including among professing Christians, as to what the term means.

                    If you’re using the term as a surrogate for “decent human being”, over the years I’ve met Christians who were good people, and Christians who were bad people, and atheists who were good people, and atheists who were bad people. So I’m not convinced there’s any real correlation between the two, either positive or negative.

                2. “And the goals of BLM extend no further than ending police brutality against minorities.”

                  What are you saying and where have you been. There is a very large amount more that that such as the anti-racism blah-blah that is strongly promoted in most universities and many business

                3. If Baptists created Congress and posted a list of Baptist-oriented goals that they wanted Congress to achieve… could you then say Congress was a Baptist organization?

                  If so… then BLM Inc. (versus blm… the feel-good social movement of the 2020s that no one actually understood but it sounds nice) is, in fact, a Marxist organization.

                  1. First, I keep hearing that Marxists created BLM, but I’ve never seen any evidence to back that up. I’m not disputing that there are Marxists in BLM, but what evidence is there that BLM is their creation?

                    Second, “Marxism” means something very specific; it is not a generic term for anyone to the left of Ronald Reagan.

                    Third, what specific Marxist goals are you referring to?

                    1. “First, I keep hearing that Marxists created BLM, but I’ve never seen any evidence to back that up”

                      According to Politifact:

                      “In a recently surfaced 2015 interview, one of the three Black Lives Matter co-founders declared that she and another co-founder “are trained Marxists.”

                      So, more correctly, it was founded by 2/3 marxists :-). And how does one become a ‘trained marxist’ anyway? Is there like a certification program?

                      The article goes on to say lots of people came to BLM that aren’t marxists, but your question was ‘created’, and according to the founders themselves that’s a true claim. This was reported in about 50% of news sources :-). You can find video of the interview on youtube if you want.

                    2. Not sure if it has been scrubbed… they have changed some parts of the BLM Inc. website… but they did in fact have a list of “goals.” Several of which were taken from Marx’s list of steps necessary to bring about the worker’s paradise. One, for example, is disrupting and ending the Western tradition of the traditional nuclear family. This was explicitly listed on their website.

        2. Far be it from me to suggest that stirring people up with exaggerated stories is responsible for violence on the part of some of those who believe the stories. I suppose we both agree that would be highly unfair and simplistic.

          From the litany of abusive practices I’ve seen chronicled at Reason, it doesn’t look like most problem cops simply target non-whites as such while giving whites kid-glove treatment. The abuse cases have victims who are white, black, white hispanic, non-white hispanic, etc.

          It’s quite possible that a bent cop who’s capable of abusive behavior would also be capable of racism. It’s just that not *all* the cases can be neatly and simplistically stuck into this paradigm. Cops who abuse their power with sometimes-deadly violence can just as easily have obtained their bad attitudes from non-racial sources.

          So when BLM calls for databases on police abuse and the like, they’re certainly on the right track, but they lack the language to address the killing of, say, white suspects/bystanders.

          1. And yet… this is so hard for people to understand. Not sure why… but there you have it.

    6. You’re missing a third possibility here: Cabin Fever.

    7. Only 1/10 “innocent” blacks are actually innocent.

    8. It is a problem, but an absolutely miniscule one compared to the civilian violence they inflict upon themselves.

    9. “innocent black people get the crap kicked out of them”

      They don’t.

    10. Footnotes upon request

      “whites are 1.7 times more likely than blacks [to] die at the hands of police.” (4)

      ” . we find no evidence of racial discrimination in officer-involved shootings.” In Houston, Texas ” . . . blacks are 27.4% less likely to be shot at by police relative to non-black, non-Hispanics”. (2)

      Police are also less likely to shoot at unarmed black suspects than unarmed white suspects. (4)

      fatal injury due to legal police intervention per 10 000 stops/arrests did not differ significantly between racial/ethnic groups. (6)

      “We found that, despite clear evidence of implicit bias against Black suspects, officers were slower to shoot armed Black suspects than armed White suspects, and they were less likely to shoot unarmed Black suspects than unarmed White suspects.”. (7)
      ” . . . police shootings over the 2000-2015 time frame reveal that blacks are actually 20 percent less likely to be shot at by police than whites . . . ” (4)

      “Four studies published this year showed that if there is a bias in police shootings, it works in favor of blacks and against whites.” (3).

      “Officers’ use of lethal force following an arrest for a violent felony is more than twice the rate for white as for black arrestees, according to one study (3).”

      “The Black Lives Matter narrative about an epidemic of racially biased police shootings is false: Four studies published this year (2016) showed that if there is a bias in police shootings, it works in favor of blacks and against whites. (3)”

      ” . . . For every black killed by a white police officer in the U.S. every year, there are about 71 blacks killed by other blacks.” (4)

      ” officers are three times less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed white suspects.” (8)

      When they looked at racial disparities, they found no statistically significant difference in the average use of lethal force per arrest between black and white arrestees. (9)

      “benchmarking to the population increases the size of Black-White disparities in use of force considerably, whereas benchmarking to arrests reduces Black-White disparities, but does not eliminate them. Table 5 shows that benchmarking to violent Part I arrests reverses the direction of the Black-White gap”, (9)

      — The use of force is higher on White violent offenders than on Black violent offenders (Table 5) and
      — Whites are subject to a higher rates of lethal force (Figure 2)
      — As Figure 2 and Table 6 show, the mean use of lethal force rate was higher for White citizens. (9)

      Sharp: arrests/crime rates, not population counts, are the correct group see (11)

      Conclusion: When using weighted-effect coding as recommended by Schimmack (10a), Table 1 shows an anti-White disparity when controlling for crime rates, anti-Black disparity when controlling for population rates, and no disparity when controlling for both crime and population rates. No analysis shows anti-Hispanic disparity.(10a)

      Sharp: controlling for crime/arrest rates is the proper measure, population is improper. See 11

  4. Seems to me this is just a variation on the principle that you get less of that which you tax.

    The surprise would have been if violent crime had not spiked in response to making it even more difficult/thankless for police officers to put themselves in harm’s way.

  5. And almost all the cities listed are run by Democrats. Who’d have figured?

    1. Basically all cities are run by Democrats. The largest R run city is fucking Jacksonville.

      Places that have money, culture, and education tend to not vote for christian fundies or closeted homophobes.

      1. No. Their constituents just murder each other at much higher rates that in the non-Democrat areas.

        And about that education. Look at k-12 educational outcomes for wonderful cultural cities like Chicago and D.C.

      2. Everyone knows that truly educated people believe that socialism is the smart way to go.

  6. De-policing seems likely to be real, but wasn’t there almost as great a homicide spike in chicago in 2016? – and historically, if you go back much beyond 2008, homicide rates were much higher.

    1. The depolicing movement may have picked up national media attention, but local jurisdictions have been depolicing (defacto or dejure) starting around Obama’s 2nd term when the Justice Department got involved. This waned somewhat during the Trump Administration, but the inertia was already there and the bureaucracy didn’t give a crap who was in the Oval Office.

      In Chicago, for example, there was a series of high profile cases, combined with a consent agreement with the Obama Justice Department, that led police to spend more time at the donut shop and doing less proactive work. The result, is a defacto depolicing.

      1. “In Chicago, for example, there was a series of high profile cases, combined with a consent agreement with the Obama Justice Department, that led police to spend more time at the donut shop and doing less proactive work. The result, is a defacto depolicing.”

        So, when the police are expected to be responsible and accountable, they eat doughnuts instead. You have a low opinion and low expectations. Perhaps this is something you understand about police, if you were, in fact, a law enforcement person.

  7. Five of the top six “cities” atop that chart are (in order) Chula Vista, Chandler, Madison, Lincoln, and Omaha.

    I did not see many of America’s ‘big league’ cities — Boston, San Jose, Minneapolis, Dallas, Charlotte, Houston, San Francisco, San Antonio, Columbus, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Cleveland — on the chart.

    This seems peculiar.

    1. Why exclude Milwaukee? Speak plainly, if such a thing is possible for you, and just get to the point.

      1. Milwaukee is a big league city.

        The point is that the cities selected — especially atop the chart — and omitted seem odd.

        1. Because the chart is “percent change”. It’s somewhat misleading…lies, damn lies, and statistics and all that.

          If you have fewer murders because it’s a smaller city, say like Chula Vista you have only about 250,000 people, the % change will be higher, then a big city that already had a lot of murders, like Chicago.

          Number of murders in Chula Vista…goes from 4 to 10, leading to a huge 150% increase. Number of murder in Chicago gores from 278 to 502, only a 55% increase.

          1. That’s why you calculate statistical significance.

    2. Not surprisingly, you didn’t bother to actually read the article. As the article clearly says (and mad_kalak repeats) the table you’re looking at shows percentage change. The “top” city earned that score with six whole deaths – a number that statistically insignificant given the normal variability in year-over-year death rates.

      Granted, the chart should have been printed with error-bars included. But that would require math and Barbie teaches us that “Math is hard.”

      1. I’ve discovered, and no offense here to many, that lawyers are not so good at statistics, or quantitative analysis for that matter. I mean, I’m no Isaac Newton, but I’m talking here about a 300 level stats class at college type of stuff that not applied to data.

        1. This is generally true, but the data analysis was not conducted by an attorney.

      2. How is any of that relevant to how the cities were selected?

        Other than that, though, great comment!

        1. Just another numb nuts comment from the resident troll.

          1. The city selection is strange. The article indicates it was not random. Perhaps this point does not interest gullible, half-educated Republicans who consider ‘just because’ a legitimate argument in reasoned debate, especially if it flatters white nationalism.

            Tired of winning yet, clingers? Excited by Trump’s newest elite legal intergalactic strike force? Confused by all of the friends, neighbors, and family members delivering insurrectionists to the FBI? Hoping your betters do not admit a couple of new states?

            1. The cities were selected based on data availability and data validity (comparing collected values to past Uniform Crime Report publications. Not all cities publish detailed data in a timely manner.

  8. I’d suggest that the protests themselves spurred more violence.

    Not just associated with the protests but by those in the community angered by the events leading up to the protests and by discussions inequality.

  9. If the current choices are (1) permit police agencies to engage in abusive, bigoted, unconstitutional conduct and (2) observe police officers refraining from doing their jobs, one natural solution would be attract a better class of people to law enforcement positions.

  10. I think it is odd to characterize depolicing as caused by the protests, since in most respects the depolicing effected by police departments is intentionally chosen from various alternative approaches, not an inevitable result.

    Here in NYC, for instance, it was the NYPD, not the facts on the ground, that chose to shift police resources to controlling protests. For months, they stationed pairs of officers to watch cordoned-off monuments throughout the city around the clock, even when no protests were nearby. They sent brigades of officers to form ranks against a cyclist memorial in a park. At the height of the George Floyd protests, they scrambled to monitor and track quite prayer vigils as the progressed from location to location. They came, in other words, looking for a fight. That was a choice.

    So, too, was the slowdown on gun violence. Dissatisfied by weak efforts of reform, the NYPD took the position that they didn’t have the enforcement tools they needed to safely engage in community policing. So they just didn’t go out. Or they just rolled through neighborhoods in their patrol cars. Again, that was a choice.

    I can agree with the broader observation that the crime wave seems to be correlated with depolicing. That’s what NYC arrest data shows, too. And I can agree that the policy response needs to be a more active engagement by the police in on-the-ground enforcement. But eliding the distinction between the protests and the depolicing – which I believe you do here primarily because of the lack of direct data on depolicing – obscures the causal mechanism and just serves up red meat for authoritarians eager to reassert control. No, we do not need a return to “stop and frisk” or other policing methods that just further the abusive practices of yesteryear (and so promise further BLM-inspired unrest). We need an approach to “re-policing” that furthers the need for public safety without the cost of racial injustice.

    One note on how the pandemic could be factoring in – in NYC, street safety is largely a function of how many people are out and about. With the pandemic, we have lost overnight subway service, late restaurant and bar hours, and virtually any reason to be out late in the evening. So you might look into the relationship between not the pandemic, but pandemic shutdowns, and the spikes in criminal behavior.

    1. IIRC, none of the recent protests were about someone who got singled out in a stop-and-frisk. It was usually the cops getting called to dealing with a situation, and in some cases they face criminal charges for dealing with it badly. The jury is (almost literally) still out on those.

    2. Usage of “gun violence” automatically marks you as a statist control freak devoid of any principles.

      Fuck off, slaver.

      1. Watch it — Prof. Volokh (says he) has a strict civility standard (sometimes).

  11. Unsurprisingly, the mostly-peaceful types didn’t always hone in on the clearest cases of police abuse, but can get triggered by more borderline cases, or even by justifiable shootings.

    If the criminal cops get tossed into the same bin with cops who make good-faith, split-second but informed decisions about how to handle what look like volatile and dangerous situations, the incentives won’t be for cops to behave lawfully, but to curtail legitimate policing techniques.

    I seem to recall a post at Volokh that cops *shouldn’t* be deterred from their duties by fear of being abandoned to the woke mobs. But until we find paragons of such heroic virtue to fill the ranks, we’re going to find cops responding to incentives just as the public-choice people suggest.

  12. Gee, it’s almost like the government doing its best to destroy civilization has negative consequences.

    1. Politicians recoiling from mobs to do whatever flight of fancy it wants might have something to do with it.

      Mission accomplished, I guess. How many in power in these cities lost their jobs over the decades of wrongness they presided over?

  13. Cities, cities, cities, cities…. What was going on OUTSIDE urban areas?

    I realize that cities drive our overall murder rate, but urban and non-urban police policies tend to differ, so it might be informative if you looked at the trends as a function of population density.

    And as far as cities went, how about contrasting cities that had rioting last year with cities that didn’t? It seems an obvious variable.

    1. They’d get the wrong answer. Can’t do that

      1. See the second comment on this tread, that nobody has touched.

        1. Well I don’t think there is any evidence that blacks are killed by police at a higher rate than anyone else. The stats actually are a little in their favor.

          And no you can’t use the general population percentage. If you do then holy crap do we have a sexist policing system since men have much worse outcomes as a percentage of general population than women.

          It gets back to the neighborhood is not bad because of the police. Its bad because of the residents. If you have a bad neighborhood and withdraw the deterrent it gets worse.

          In my neighborhood we literally never see the police. We are I would say far suburban, almost country. Same is true of the country folks in general.

          So comparing country vs urban would yield a big spike in urban murder and zero change in country folks.

          And the MSM absolutely does not want to show that since it points at the residents not the police.

          1. I believe that it’s the 13% of the population that commits 50% of the murders issue.

            1. “13% of the population that commits 50% of the murders”

              Its basically the male half of the 13%.

    2. Generally larger cities (urban areas) publish their data quicker and is available online. It will be about two years from now until a study is done looking at more rural areas. Rioting (measured by non-residential burglary) was considered but not included in the final model. Other data was considered, but it was not consistent enough to be considered reliable.

  14. It’s not just less proactive policing. A major spike in unemployment especially among young men is going to have a major impact on crime rates.

    1. I’m not so sure about that. A whole (increasing) class of unemployed or under-employed young men sit at home and play video games and watch pr0n, either on the government’s dime or their parents. They are pacified in a way. A thousand years ago the Vikings had to go on raids as a way to deal with this problem, today they raid dungeons in Skyrim and look at MILFs.

      This is why, despite thousands of hours socially conditioning themselves to kill, loot, and murder they don’t do it in real life.

  15. Just the latest additions to the death toll from leftists and from the reaction of victims of Democrat-run city governments.

    More conservative places like San Diego and cities in Florida were mostly spared from any problems.

    Can we learn any lessons from this? History suggests No — caring only about power and privilege and personal vanity and not caring about harm to Americans leaves everyone who could do anything about it unable to learn and unwilling to make any changes. They’ll just import replacements for the dead and make up a story to try to justify monetary payments to themselves and their friends again.

  16. The author is attempting to make this an A OR B problem when the answer may well be A AND B.

    Yes, there are elements in the data that point to a discontinuity in the data trends. However, there is also compelling evidence that the discontinuity might never have occurred but for the boredom, fear and desperation of the government-imposed lockdowns. People who are gainfully employed might take time to write their congresscritter but they don’t go to rallies or riots. They’re too busy putting bread on the table. On the other hand, people who have been laid off or locked out of work have plenty of free time and lots of anxiety and anger to work off.

    Rather than defining the “pandemic period” based on the incidence of disease, you should be looking at the economic consequences and the timing of those consequences.

    1. I agree with the economic point you make. This point is surely addressed in other papers as, depending on the measure, is not readily available.

  17. A couple of comments:

    1)I didn’t see mentioned that a lot of places let a lot of lower level crooks go in the hope of avoiding jail epidemics of covid, and also drastically reduced the number of things they would make an arrest for. That is a kind of depolicing that is covid-related, not protest-related.

    2)Some things make sense, for example I’m not surprised that residential burglaries haven’t gone up – more people are home during the day, which discourages burglars.

    3)In general, though, I would be cautious with 2020’s stats. I think that murders usually get reported, but other kinds of crimes can have pretty squishy numbers. For example, a friend found a presumably stolen bike stashed in his yard. He called the police, and was told ‘we’re not doing bike thefts because of covid, do whatever you want with it’. So that would have been counted as a crime in 2019, but not in 2020.

    1. To your 3rd point. Many cities will still take the report but may not send someone out. Thus, it would still count as a theft.

      1. Indeed. Some will, some won’t. In this case they didn’t seem to take any action at all.

        FWIW, for years I thought crime stats were gold plated accurate, but I have heard fro officers that they can be wildly off. In many departments, doing the at all, much less with a high degree of accuracy, isn’t something that is much of a priority. Hence ‘use with caution’.

        (that’s aside from the problem of departments putting a finger on the scales, by either inflating them (‘crime is up, we need more money!’) or depressing them (‘look how successful our new program was!’)

  18. Catastrophes are multi-factorial. One factor that unifies the cities with the biggest increases is they are overlawyered, Democrat jurisdictions.

  19. We all know that this is a result of white supremacists and has nothing to do with anything else.

    1. Forgot this is because we do not have gun bans as well. All we need is a federal gun ban and murder will disappear.

  20. Failure to repeal the second amendment is the only reason people get killed.

  21. So what does one do when one puts out a post and find the comments are like they are here. Mostly partisan attacks on Dems and blacks.

    Does it make one second-guess the post, or is it immaterial how people engage with what you write?

    1. Because it’s Dems who pushed lockdowns, control most of our major inner cities where the violence is occuring while simultaneously controlling the police departments in said cities, advocate for defunding the police, and (low and behold) it’s blacks doing the killing (mostly to other blacks)?

      Call me crazy, I know, but I think comments on a post should be on topic. What do you think?

    2. Heaven forbid a political party be held accountable for its horrible idea for what it thinks constitutes good public policy….

    3. Far be it from me to miss a chance for a partisan attack on Dems (NOT blacks though. Racism is stupid.) But in this case a) I would rather have zero police than what we have now with police officers given the next best thing to a free pass on everything; and b) I think it is safe to say than complex social/crime issues have ONE thing that causes it.

      Now back to our regularly scheduled programming of partisan attacks.

      1. “Accountability” is only for Republicans. Democrats are always the victim when it is convenient or the hero when that suits them. Democrat activists in the form of BLM matter riot and loot all Summer long and you hear nothing except for excuses and victimhood. Some activists want transparency in voting and are tired of massive censorship engage in one day of protest and well all the sudden you have insurrection and civil war.

        Sarcastro is doing nothing more than mimicking the laughable double standard that is political discourse today.

      2. Agree with your b. anyone who thinks they’ve figured out the cause of a single year social change is almost certainly being reductive.

        I also suspect the generalization about free passes is reductive though.

        1. Reasonable Person: “Hmm….I wonder why all these people are breaking the law….could it be because the police are not aggressively enforcing it anymore?”
          Leftist: “Non-sense, social policy is extremely complex and there can be no one reason why anything in this world could happen, especially when it looks bad for us lefties…”
          Looter: “Hey everyone, lets do some more looting, the cops aren’t stopping us!”

          1. Yeah, some lefty around here tried to play the Occam’s Razor card on me a week or two ago. I chuckled. It never lasts long.

            1. Liberals around these parts thrive on disinformation, double standards, gaslighting, and logical fallacies. And they can’t stand being called on this behavior either. Instead they just double down with more gaslighting or another logical fallacy.

      3. That should be ” b) I think it is safe to say than complex social/crime issues have *more than* ONE thing that causes it.”

    4. Partisan attacks on blacks? I didn’t see those.

    5. And your interest is to critique the comments.

      Because it’s only Americans getting murdered. If it were immigrants feeling bad about words, you’d address it. But it’s nothing so important as that.

    6. Sooo where are the homicide spikes happening? Big cities controlled by Democrats. Who should we blame?

      1. As has been noted, big cities are Democratic, so this is not the spot-on correlation you take it for, much less anything establishing causation.

  22. That New York City number (131) can’t be right. Maybe you meant to say 131 additional homicides.

  23. Unlikely to be police. Crime has trended down for decades independent of police. This has been observed in parts of Canada also, where both police and crime went down simultaneously. Poverty is usually the main cause of all crime and was exacerbated last year. Also, we have the lockdowns, and other frustrating events coinciding.

    1. What an amazing coincidence that poverty, lockdowns and frustrating events started EXACTLY the same time as the George-Floyd anti-police protests.

  24. Our arcadian little town is now on the top ten most violent cities in the USA. And to think of it: Asheville is a fitting place for another Meistersinger songfest and goats bleating and kids frolicking peacefully on the meadow.

    After the George Floyd death we had raucous demonstrations and calls even in our city building to defund the police. Next thing you know a drove of cops quit and went home. Then the drug dealers began exterminating each other.

    Then a rash of coronavirus infections in our jail and the sheriff let loose scores of antisocial primates. Jailers were also coming down with the killer virus.

    Gun sales went through the roof. We got locked and loaded.

  25. Omaha spiked because the previous four years were record lows (the 37 killed in 2020 are fewer than before the lows) and Lincoln went from 5 to 7 homicides. While homicide is generally up you should use better sources rather than the ones with big scary numbers.

    1. This is true. 2017 was selected because that is roughly when the type of data used is available for a large number of cities. Furthermore, it is common practice in criminology to compare a present value of crime to a three year average.

      1. Perhaps the common practice needs a caveat, to cover instances when present values are manifestly not comparable to three year averages. Maybe an asterisk, to say in the note: “Who knows what this means, because nothing comparable was going on in the control period, and it is going to take years to sort out the differences.”

        1. The purpose of the analysis is to see if they are not comparable, in a way. When something is “statistically significant” that means that what is occurring is most likely not random and the difference is likely due to other factors. The actual report does put the change in some context comparing the homicide rate in the same cities in 1995.

          1. Sure, but it isn’t supposed to be you supplying the non-randomness. That is supposed to emerge from your data, after you make a forthright attempt not to bias the data selection to produce what you are looking for.

            1. That is correct, the investigator should not be attempting to introduce any more error into the data that is already there. But, certain models can control for this. Also, the study only speaks to the effects in the sample. All researchers look for something, hence there is a hypothesis or a research question.

  26. I’m loud and obnoxious
    I like beats with music that rhymes
    I’m only 13% of the population
    But I commit over half the violent crimes!

  27. Why no mention of lockdowns? That has to be a significant component.

    1. It is amazing that the effect of the lockdowns– which had been in place for months– kicked in at EXACTLY the time that the George-Floyd anti-police riots started.

  28. The Coof Coup used Covid19 to rationalise ballot fraud in key Democrat districts in key swing states. Part of creating the crisis was ‘Operation Helter Skelter’. Deprived Democrat for decades districts were left to be destroyed as police in Democrat areas where called off.
    As the Globalist/Democrat ghettoisation of the U.S continues in the lead up to The Great Reset so will this murder trend. Soon running from California or other Democrat states won’t be a solution.
    https://youtu.be/Ez90rXhMWjE

  29. Like most conservatives you are lazy. There always exist multiple ways of examining complex data in large ecosystems. One way is to compare similar ecosystems. For example you may have compared out country and its cities to other similar countries / cities. Consider this paragraph.
    This makes it difficult to draw general conclusions on the impact of the pandemic on the level of lethal violence. Several factors could explain this heterogeneity: differences in the level of restrictive measures imposed by Governments, pre-existing socioeconomic conditions, and the overall predominance of a particular typology of homicide, which in Latin America is often related to organized crime and gangs, whereas in Europe it is more closely linked tointerpersonal and family-related violence.

    Then there is the fact that intra family homicides are not likely to be affected by pro active policing. Unless the author thinks that police have been knocking on the doors of homes (Well maybe of the homes of blacks) Family member kill each other, and when confined together are more likely to do so.

    But all of this complexity is way beyond the mental capacity of almost all conservatives.

  30. The list of cities is peculiar—especially so when the narrative is that something national is going on. Maybe the explanation is just, “Well, we couldn’t get data from Houston, or Boston, or Columbus, or Jersey City, or Tulsa, or Omaha, or Sacramento, etc., etc. . . . but we’ve got it from Chula Vista!

    What responsible researchers and reporters do with bad data is find better data. The way this is presented you know it’s peculiar data, but you can’t really know why it’s peculiar. Knowing why matters.

    If I were still a newspaper editor, and a reporter came to me with this thing, I wouldn’t even consider running it—not even as a newspaper story, let alone reporting it as research. I would tell the reporter either that it looks hopeless, or to get more, but wait until you can efficiently get a sample that looks nationally inclusive and representative. Go get me the biggest city in each state, maybe. Something you can’t cherry pick.

    Can’t get that? Forget the story. Some good ideas turn out to be lost causes and time sinks, because that’s how things are.

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