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Mark Alexander / Oct. 4, 2017

Violent Crime Rising — The 'Ferguson Effect'

Police, under criticism for being "racist," are backing off enforcement — and the result is predictable.

According to Pew Research crime data, the rate of violent crime dropped almost 50% in the decade up to 2015. At the same time, the rate of firearm sales and ownership has steadily increased. Thus, as research by former Yale professor John Lott concludes, “More Guns, Less Crime.”

Notably however, after decades of declining violence, murder and other violent crime rates began trending upward in 2015 and 2016. According to the latest FBI annual crime report, in 2014 there were 12,270 murders – a number which had held steady for several years. But in 2015, that number increased significantly to 13,750 murders and in 2016 to 15,070 murders. In about 70 percent of murders, assailants use a firearm.

The increasing violent crime trend is due in large measure to the “Ferguson Effect,” a correlation noted by crime researcher Heather Mac Donald, who authored “Are Cops Racist?” After the justified shooting of a Ferguson, Missouri, thug, national and local politicians joined Barack Obama’s war on cops, condemning police nationwide for alleged “racial profiling,” insisting that the high rate of crimes perpetrated by black people, mostly on other black people or hispanics, is a statistical aberration because cops are racist. Mac Donald explains, “Cops are backing off of proactive policing in high-crime minority neighborhoods, and criminals are becoming emboldened. Having been told incessantly by politicians, the media, and Black Lives Matter activists that they are bigoted for getting out of their cars and questioning someone loitering on a known drug corner at 2 AM, many officers are instead just driving by.”

After the Baltimore riots in 2015, Mac Donald wrote about rising crime: “The most plausible explanation of the current surge in lawlessness is the intense agitation against American police departments over the past nine months. Since last summer, the airwaves have been dominated by suggestions that the police are the biggest threat facing young black males today. A handful of highly publicized deaths of unarmed black men, often following a resisted arrest — including Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y., in July 2014, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014 and Freddie Gray in Baltimore last month — have led to riots, violent protests and attacks on the police. Murders of officers jumped 89% in 2014, to 51 from 27.”

She continued, “Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder … embraced the conceit that law enforcement in black communities is infected by bias. The news media pump out a seemingly constant stream of stories about alleged police mistreatment of blacks, with the reports often buttressed by cellphone videos that rarely capture the behavior that caused an officer to use force. … Acquittals of police officers for the use of deadly force against black suspects are now automatically presented as a miscarriage of justice. Proposals aimed at producing more cop convictions abound.”

Of course, now NFL celebrity athletes are taking a knee to promote and popularize this fake “racist cop” assertion — a protest started by former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who recently donated funds to honor a cop-killer.

Professor Walter Williams observes that the issue should be intra-racial homicide — black-on-black murders. But as I have noted previously, that doesn’t fit the Democrats’ race-bait political agenda constituent narrative.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions previously voiced his concern that the 2015 increase was “the beginning of a trend,” noting, “That is the thing that has concerned me the most.” His concerns are now reality.

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