Rise In Crime Thanks To "Ferguson Effect"

It has been almost ten months since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri by Officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014. To say tensions have been high between police and civilians (especially those in the black community) since then is an understatement. Twitter campaigns claiming #BlackLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter have become standard. Sadly, new occurrences involving questionable deaths at the hands of police officers, or deaths of police officers by those seeking retribution against law enforcement, are on the rise. What is also on the rise? Crime as a whole.

The so-called “Ferguson Effect” says:

…police are disengaging from discretionary enforcement activity, the criminal element is feeling empowered and a wave of violence has reversed much of twenty years’ decline in crime rates.

This is hardly surprising with the hand-tying of police nationwide. I cannot imagine the feelings of law enforcement in this country, who have a difficult enough job as it is, as they view the outrageous behavior directed at them for no other reason than their profession. Would you feel emboldened to do your job knowing the explosive nature just brimming under the surface? I think not. Conversely, I cannot imagine the feelings of those in the black community as they witness events unfold. Not every one of them is a lawbreaker waiting to be arrested. Only a select few have felt the need to torch businesses in their own neighborhoods, loot others, and cause mayhem to make a point. But what is highlighted? The situations where cops may have acted/did act unjustly while performing their duties. What else is highlighted? The small number of youth eager to destroy for no reason. Put that all together and don’t be shocked that we’ve ended up here.

In Baltimore, in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death in April, violence in the month of May was the highest it has been in 15 years. We should expect this violence to continue. As was reported just last week:

“I’m afraid to go outside,” said Antoinette Perrine, whose brother was shot down three weeks ago on a basketball court near her home in the Harlem Park neighborhood of West Baltimore. Ever since, she has barricaded her door and added metal slabs inside her windows to deflect gunfire.

“It’s so bad, people are afraid to let their kids outside,” Perrine said. “People wake up with shots through their windows. Police used to sit on every corner, on the top of the block. These days? They’re nowhere.”

“Before it was over-policing. Now there’s no police,” said Donnail “Dreads” Lee, 34, who lives in the Gilmor Homes, the public housing complex where Gray, 25, was chased down. “People feel as though they can do things and get away with it. I see people walking with guns almost every single day, because they know the police aren’t pulling them up like they used to.”

These increases are not singular to Baltimore, however. According to police, “Murders and violent crimes in New York City, Baltimore, St Louis, Chicago and Los Angeles have all spiked in recent months”. The Ferguson Effect is a full-blown nationwide epidemic. When the risk/price of wrongdoing is deemed to be low, then crime increases. If deaths of civilians at the hands of police have gone up, the same is true of officer deaths at the hands of civilians. During National Police Week in mid-May, it was reported that the rate of officers “feloniously killed in the line of duty” has increased 89 percent.

We have a seemingly uncontrollable mess on our hands, but too many on either side, whether they support civilians or p0lice, are convinced of the innocence within their ranks. If we can’t reconsider those viewpoints, this will only continue. I look to cops to serve and protect, and the majority of them do. Some don’t. Not every person stopped by police is in the midst of or about to commit some egregious crime. But as we know, some are. Without looking at the situation as a whole honestly, I don’t see how things will change.

What doesn’t help is the Left’s insistence that cops are out to kill those in the black community, whether young or old. These mouthpieces are usually conveniently perched away from the centers of conflict, attempt to empathize, fail miserably, and only increase the outrage while building upon false narratives. They are found at liberal institutions like The Washington Post which insisted on May 1 that Marilyn Mosby’s press conference, announcing the indictments of the Baltimore officers for Freddie Gray’s death, was “amazing”. Such a description would only come from those looking to legitimize personal opinions. The WP piece ended with a glowing finale: “The sincerity of her words and their emphatic delivery will go a long way in keeping Baltimore calm in the months ahead”. As residents of Baltimore know, they most certainly haven’t.

Hereafter, we need fewer gross generalizations of police and citizenry. We need to see things for how they are, not just for how we want them to be. And lastly, we need fewer fire stokers who get off on a proxy crusade which is essentially just another case of “Selma envy”.