Better Get Used to It: The Ferguson Effect Is Real


Better Get Used to It: The Ferguson Effect Is Real

JANUARY 27, 2016

Crime numbers such as these prompt the question: What’s to be done about it? … Both the neighborhoods mentioned above are patrolled by officers from the LAPD’s 77th Street Division, one of 21 patrol stations in the city. … 77th Street is among the leaders in violent crime in Los Angeles, as reflected in the fact that six of the ten most violent neighborhoods in the county are within its borders. Seventy-seventh Street Division led the city in murders last year (as it does most years), … a 10 percent increase from the previous year, mirroring a similar rise in murders that occurred in the city as a whole. Overall violent crime in Los Angeles was up 20 percent in 2015, with robberies up by 12 percent and aggravated assaults up by 27 percent.

But despite this rise in crime, arrests in Los Angeles were down by almost 10 percent in 2015. Why? There is an ongoing effort in this country to deny the existence of the “Ferguson effect,” i.e., the increasing reluctance among police officers to subject themselves to the risks attendant to proactive policing (see here and here for but two examples). Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014, was demonstrated to have been fully justified in doing so, which was clear enough within hours of the incident. Despite this, he was driven from his job and vilified in the media. …

In Los Angeles, two police officers are still awaiting a decision on whether they will be prosecuted in the August 2014 shooting death of Ezell Ford, who, when he tried to wrest an officer’s handgun from its holster, paid for it with his life. Though LAPD Chief Charlie Beck ruled the shooting to be “in policy,” i.e., justified under both the law and department guidelines, the civilian police commission – mayoral appointees without even a trace of expertise in policing – ruled the shooting to be “in policy” as to one officer, but “out of policy” as to the other, subjecting him to discipline or even termination.

Actions have consequences. Sadly the consequences of the BLM mobs’ racism are being felt by those the BLM mob claim to be supporting.


The Ferguson Effect Continues to Fester

MARCH 18, 2016

Consider the recent announcement in New York City that police and prosecutors will now focus their efforts on “serious crimes” and deemphasize enforcement action on “minor offenses” like public drinking, littering, and public urination. In doing so, the NYPD will abandon the “Broken Windows” theory of policing, which prescribes that by taking action against minor breaches of the law police will lower the frequency of major crimes as well, thus enhancing the quality of life for all the city’s residents, particularly those living in neighborhoods most affected by crime. NYPD Commissioner William Bratton was a pioneer in this model of policing during his first tenure in the job, during which New York saw a drastic reversal of the escalating crime rates that had made the city all but unlivable. To illustrate the point, consider that there were 2,262 murders reported in New York in 1990 and just 352 in 2015. Imagine the thousands of lives that would have been taken if the murder rate had remained constant.

The NYPD did not achieve this by concentrating only on “serious crime” as is now proposed, but rather by cracking down on both serious and minor violations of the law. It was only a few short months ago that Bratton and coauthor George Kelling wrote in City Journal of the crying need for Broken Windows policing. The sub-headline on the article read: “It has saved countless New York lives—most of them minority—cut the jail population, and reknit the social fabric.” All true, and all compelling reasons for continuing the practice. So compelling, in fact, that one can’t help but wonder why Bratton would acquiesce to this sudden reversal.

If the law enforcement priorities reflected by this change in policy are unclear, the political priorities are not. Mayor Bill de Blasio seeks to minimize confrontations between police and lawbreakers, and he knows that lawbreakers are concentrated most heavily in those black and Latino neighborhoods most often ignored by the New York media. Better to let criminals run wild (as long as they stay out of the tonier districts of Manhattan) than risk an incident like the one that has endangered Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s future in Chicago.

IOW, the “Ferguson Effect” has afflicted pols as well as police officers and departments. As Dunphy, who has decades of LE experience, points out, the “small stuff” that isn’t “sweated” becomes “big stuff” as petty thugs self-promote to bigger and worse thugs.


To illustrate the point, consider that there were 2,262 murders reported in New York in 1990 and just 352 in 2015. Imagine the thousands of lives that would have been taken if the murder rate had remained constant.

Experts in the field TODAY still argue about what caused the Great Crime Decline of the 1990s, ranging from the mundane like higher incarceration rates and tough crime laws to crazy stuff like legalization of abortion and overmedication. The author is not being forthright if he’s going to tie the decline entirely to broken windows policing.



… to crazy stuff like legalization of abortion and overmedication.

As you said, “crazy stuff”; I’d refine your phrase to agenda-sourced crazy stuff. I’m not going to quibble Dunphy’s not giving consideration to "crazy stuff’ as possible factors in the decline of crime in the 1990s, for an obvious reason.


Obviously high incarceration rates are going to drop crime. There has been a long standing link between people who commit minor crimes and ones who commit major crimes. It doesn’t mean that all people who commit minor crimes will commit major crimes, but they’re far more likely than the population at large. But the main reason is recidivism. People who do something major, like rob someone at gun point, or stab someone, are almost universally “bad” people, who will continue to do things like this, for the rest of their lives. One of the biggest drivers for dropping crime rate, was really notching up the sentence times for violent felonies.

Another reason is we have a whole generation of people who are never truly at risk of dying from hunger or poverty. Nobody my age knows anyone that went for weeks without eating, or faced a serious fear of dying because someone lost a job. When you haven’t eaten in a week, it could prompt you to do a lot of things you’d previously thought were beneath your dignity. These days, you could always spend some time looking up food pantries online, and go walk there. It may hurt your pride, but you probably prefer taking charity, to stealing.
This really wasn’t the case back in the past. Most older people that I know, had at least a few periods in their life where they genuinely were worried about how they were going to eat or feed their kids. I would say a flat out majority of older(born before 1950) black people I’ve met, have told me stories about going without eating for days, on many occasions in their lives.

Most people still don’t do anything bad, even under those circumstances, but it raises the likelihood. And once you start doing things, you start rationalizing it, and it becomes more common in the future.

Of course higher usage of birth control(including abortion) dropped the crime rate. It’s one of many things that would affect it in a positive way. When a woman doesn’t want a baby, but has it anyway, do you think she’s likely to be a good mom? Far less likely than a woman who wanted the baby. When a kid grows up on the streets, because they have no parents, they’re far more likely to commit crimes.

Another thing that just doesn’t get much attention, but I think has had a major impact is improvement of entertainment. Even very poor people have a tv, a game console, and a smart phone. They’re less bored than they used to be. If you’ve got a full stomach and a roof over your head, maybe it just feels more right to sit on the couch and play Halo, rather than go steal a car. The motivation just isn’t there.


There are likely a number of factors to account for the increase in violent crime in the Watts - Willow Brook area of LA and other such “ghettos” in several other large cities across the country.

I think the “Ferguson Effect” is real and is one of those factors. Police want to come home at night and they want to keep their jobs. The message that has been sent to many metropolitan police departments by the politicians/civic leaders is “we do NOT have your back”. A level of caution and avoidance by police officers is a rational, albeit, unfortunate result.

To the second point above regarding the comparison in the violent crimes/recent increase to the '90s. What’s changed? Well, for one thing the unemployment rate in these communities - especially among the volatile age group of 18 - 30 - has increased exponentially in the last several years. Some of these areas have a 40% unemployment rate among 18 to 25 year olds. Youth and idle time is not a good combination - throw in drugs/gangs for good measure. There is no doubt this condition has contributed heavily to the increase in violent crime.

Couple the above two factors to the continued, and in some areas, accelerated deterioration of the family and reduction of exposure to positive male role models, and why should we expect anything but significant increases in reported violent crime?

Of course, the Left - Hillary - is already addressing the phenomenon by using language to her advantage and raising the specter of “victimhood” politics - the new code word for racism and victimhood - “Mass Incarceration” is already being thrown around by Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and other Democrats. As usual, the Left’s response to problem solving is throwing verbiage/catch phrases at it.


I see scaling back police efforts in the communities that request it, as a win-win. Police are in less danger, and the community doesn’t have to deal with the cops they don’t like. Of course they get more crime, but they’ve already determined that the crime isn’t as bad as the police presence. It’s democracy in action.


I imagine that there might be trepidation in operating in certain communities, which indeed works against the very communities and inner city that require the most help. I know some of you are strong on sentencing criminals, I believe it is far too blanket a response and in some cases can actually encourage worse crimes as they will take more diabolical steps to avoid being caught, including eliminating a witness for example. The sentencing for non-violent crimes and crimes of addictions has gone way out of bounds in some cases, this was a major reason I supported Rand Paul. Sentence accordingly and make a strong distinction between lifetime criminals and those who took a bad path but can be lead to the right path.

Most important, is socialization. This starts at the family level and involved all in the community. Policing tactics need to involve operating within the community. Walking in pairs, engaging in discussion with people building trust. Not just showing up in riot gear to take down someone. When an issue requires force it has to be with conviction and safely supported so that no one feels they are overstepping their authorities unduly.

Lastly, classic, free market capitalist concepts that allow those who wants to succeed, to have the opportunity to succeed. You cannot stop every crime or get through to every person, but the younger you do the better the chances. If someone believe through hard work and application of talent they can move up the socio-economic ladder the less likely they are to engage in criminal activity.

Just a few thoughts on this subject. Consider though this is a case of the cart and the horse, which came first? Where did the distrust of police overwhelm and outweigh support for them in some places? Also, with tightening budgets and excessive debt, prioritizing is unfortunately going to be an issue.


What’s needed is a frank discussion (not one of the left’s hectoring sessions) on the legitimate use of race as a criteria in policing. The “Ferguson Effect” represents shrinking from such a discussion and denial of the issue. As long as race is part of the fabric of America this will be an issue. And sadly, it is groups like BLM and their numerous predecessors that aggravate those divisions. Blacks should fold into American society the same way Poles, Jews and Italians have.

Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox takes leave after profiling email
The text of the “offending” e-mail (publicly available) is as follows:

[QUOTE=Police Chief Benjamin Fox]
I think that most police officers are finding the national rhetoric about police abuse and racial profiling quite upsetting. Profiling, racial or otherwise, has it’s place in law enforcement when used correctly and applied fairly. Unfortunately we have never heard that from our President, top political leaders or our US Attorney General. Don’t ask the police to ignore what we know. Black gang members from Teaneck commit burglaries in Wyckoff. That’s why we check out suspicious black people in white neighborhoods. White kids buy heroin in black NYC neighborhoods. That’s why the NYPD stops those white kids. The police know they are there to buy drugs. It’s insane to think that the police should just dumb down just to be politically correct. The public wants us to keep them safe and I’m confident that they want us to use our skills and knowledge to attain that goal.

My major concern is that all of this misguided complaining about police officers will cause an officer to react slower to something you might perceive as a threat. That delay could be deadly. Continue to do your job relying on your training, instincts and knowledge: A common thread in the recent national incidents are persons who resist the police. That resistance then creates your counter reaction. We don’t run from fights. This department has a history of being respected by the public. Each of you contribute to that daily. Continue to be fair with people and treat them with respect. If someone resists your authorized demands, use your counter reaction as the law allows and you have my 100 support should others complain. If you have done your job correctly, they don’t want to get me on the other end of the phone. Above all, do what you have to do and that which the law allows you to do to remain safe.[/QUOTE]

I think his being forced to take leave is a bridge too far. Specifically, majority people, as outlined in the e-mail, can also be subject to profiling. There is nothing wrong in my opinion with allocating scarce police resources in an economical manner in accordance with common sense. Police are powerless to change the semi-segregated nature of society. Thus they should use that unfortunate fact to society’s advantage.

Another example concerns terror. It is obvious that most, though not all terror emanates from certain groups. In an effort to maintain a spurious “fairness” we force all people to undergo security checks when entering New York City office buildings. Clearly, almost all of those people are going about their day to day business, and having to add 15 minutes to the needed time to make a meeting is bad for productivity and society. Yet to spare the feelings of communities that more or less refuse to integrate we are inconveniencing all.

Similarly, in Brussels and Paris, as well as other European cities (and a few communities in the U.S.) there are large areas that are “off limits” to police and to majority communities. Common sense dictates that nothing good is happening in those communities. It is not as if the people in those communities are plotting out peaceful demonstrations. Nor are they working on arguments that they will ask their members of Parliament to debate. They are devising ways to hurt or kill us. And given the relative lack of employment, largely on the Government’s “dime.”

All that I ask is some common sense, not racism.


CWolf - who determines/speaks for the community in requesting/demanding less law enforcement with respect to violent crime - Al Sharpton, Black Lives Matter? People in those areas within the city are entitled to tell law enforcement to stay out and/or look the other way? Citizens in those areas have a right to expect enforcement. There are citizens in those neighborhoods who want, often plead, for enforcement and the removal of the violent criminals.

Some of these neighborhoods are little more than shooting galleries.


Well, considering Black Lives Matter has an %85+ approval rating among blacks, I think it’s fair to say that they make a pretty good representative movement.

Someone always wants something that others don’t want. In a democracy, the majority rules. And blacks overwhelmingly feel that police are more of a problem than criminals. They are entitled to their beliefs, and there is no reason we should impose more policing in their areas.


Yes, all deserve to be protected, often so-called representatives of communities do nothing but profit from the divide. Policing has to understand that tactics evolve, society evolves and the courts have to evolve, these rabble rousers don’t add much to the discussion and they certainly aren’t in these communities fighting crime.

In Canada are greatest problem has always been in the reliability and trustworthiness of some agencies. At the very least you have the FBI to keep these agencies honest so the challenges are different, Canada doesn;t have this as the RCMP have more scandals than all the other agencies combined. Hire honest, committed police and ensure a culture that demands accountability. Have these who are the best of the best coordinate within the communities. Walk the beat, get to know who is who.

Consider sentencing for a drug user, someone with an addiction is sentenced to a year in prison. He gets to hang out with more hardened, life-long criminals. If you want to talk about graduating to bigger crimes, this is the prime example of how this occurs. I’m not excusing criminals, especially the most hardcore, heartless lot, but these bad guys aren’t born, they are made.

There is no magic wand, we will all oversimplify the situation and I have the utmost respect for those in uniform who do a tough job. It’s such a complex battle that I can understand how so many officers in uniform would become dismayed and lose faith.


Its a battle of wants and needs. No one ever wants what they actually need. The BLM movement should be ignored by all. If it is the voice of blacks to the rest of the US then the black community is in trouble.


[quote=“CWolf, post:11, topic:48510”]
Well, considering Black Lives Matter has an %85+ approval rating among blacks, I think it’s fair to say that they make a pretty good representative movement.

Someone always wants something that others don’t want. In a democracy, the majority rules. And blacks overwhelmingly feel that police are more of a problem than criminals. They are entitled to their beliefs, and there is no reason we should impose more policing in their areas.
[/quote] Fine…except, once again, THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRACY!


True. As a former LEO, if I received a radio call that 5 black men in a green Cadillac had just robbed a bank, I would be INSANE to start stopping red Toyota’s driven by two, blue-haired old white women to “check them out.”


[quote=“Pappadave, post:14, topic:48510”]
Fine…except, once again, THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRACY!
[/quote]A Republic is a form of democracy. A pure, direct democracy hasn’t existed since Athens, and no one understands the word “Democracy” to mean that.

It’s like the people who quibble over “gay” meaning “happy”. Yeah, it used to - a century ago. Words change. Stop getting into dictionary fights.


[quote=“Seravee, post:13, topic:48510”]
Its a battle of wants and needs. No one ever wants what they actually need.
[/quote]Who should be deciding what type of governance black areas should have? The people living there, or other people? I think the people living there should be the ones who get to choose.

In my opinion, my old county commissioner where I used to live is corrupt. I’m about %90 sure she uses county funds as her own personal slush fund(as her father did before her). But she keeps being re-elected with %70+ of the vote(same as her father). Some people literally hate her. They say she should resign, but I don’t agree. Most people in the area clearly want to keep her in place. Just because I don’t like her, or her father, that has very little to do with what the community wants. She’s also made it clear that she’ll stepping down in favor of her son here in about 10 years. I expect he’ll also be repeatedly elected with %70 of the vote, while using the county funds as his own personal slush fund, and negotiating contracts only with family friends.

I’ve never had a government that functions the way I’d like it to. But that’s because I think differently than most people. Such is life.


Black people get their vote/say when they elect there district/city councilmen. The police are governed by the City Council. If they have a problem take it up with the elected officials. I have found the bigger government gets that harder it is to hold government accountable. I believe in communities having councils that set the path the community takes rather than a huge city government(think Dallas). The idea reminds me of the Tokyo Metropolis and how its system of government is set up.

The problem black people have is mostly in big cities. You cannot cater to the minority and most never will. The problems black communities face cannot be addressed because it would be seen as preferred treatment by the majority. When they do help though and it doesn’t work(as RET says if the answer to the question is government, it was a stupid question) then is is viewed badly by the black community because 9/10 the council is white and it is seen as the “MAN” keeping them down. You cannot ask for help and then complain when the help isn’t what you wanted.

The black community wants equality but thought is not something to can legislate. It is something that is earned. Equality comes in many forms.


A big problem with black representation in government is the legal requirement for “majority minority districts,” which is essentially a nice way of saying gerrymandering all the minorities into one district so they don’t get a voice in other districts, and thus in Congress.


I was talking more on the local level more than federal or state. The Federal/State government is not equped to handle the issue the black community faces nor should they try. It is a problem that can only be fixed on the local(community/city) level.