No Matter What You Call It, There’s Just No Evidence of A ‘Ferguson Effect’ or ‘Viral Video Effect’ on Crime


A while back we debunked the idea that demands for greater police accountability were undermining police work and putting more cops in harm’s way. To the contrary, despite politicized claims, on-duty officer deaths are dropping.

And now, a new report by the Brennan Center for Justice is tackling the other half of the ‘Ferguson effect,’ myth — that protests around the country have demoralized officers so severely, that crime is once again on the rise. They find no evidence of a Ferguson or ‘viral video’ effect (as FBI Director James Comey prefers to call it). Between 2014 and 2015 crime rates largely stayed level across the country’s 30 largest cities.  

Here are some key takeaways from the Brennan report: (more…)

Drug Arrests and Mass Black Incarceration

It’s estimated today that roughly one out of every three black men will be imprisoned in either a state or federal correctional facility in their lifetimes. This is a shocking number not only because of its absolute disproportionality — white men will face prison time at a rate one-eighth that of black men — but also because black imprisonment has grown nearly unabated during a time when arrests for violent crimes have fallen overall.

Jonathan Rockwell, a Fellow at the Brookings Institute, recently reported data showing that arrests for Back Americans were declining in key categories of crime. Specifically, over the past thirty years, annual arrests for property crimes (think burglary and various types of theft) have fallen by more than 70,000 while arrests for violent crimes (think rape and murder) have fallen by roughly 2,600. And yet, as mentioned earlier, incarceration now more than ever has become a standard life event for too many blacks — especially black men with low rates of education.

The cause of these diverging trends stems in large part from the war on drugs. Over the same time period that arrests for property and violent crimes have gone down, non-violent drug related arrests have boomed with nearly 1 million more arrests occurring in 2011 than in 1980 for crimes related to drug abuse and paraphernalia possession. Click for graph. (more…)