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Trying to Hide the Rise of Violent Crime

Progressives and their media allies have launched a campaign to deny the ‘Ferguson effect’—but it’s real, and it’s increasingly deadly for inner cities.

Heather Mac Donald writes: Murders and shootings have spiked in many American cities—and so have efforts to ignore or deny the crime increase. The see-no-evil campaign eagerly embraced a report last month by the Brennan Center for Justice called “Crime in 2015: A Preliminary Analysis.” Many progressives and their media allies hailed the report as a refutation of what I and others have dubbed the “Ferguson effect”— cops backing off from proactive policing, demoralized by the ugly vitriol directed at them since a police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., last year. Americans are being asked to disbelieve both the Ferguson effect and its result: violent crime flourishing in the ensuing vacuum.

“Baltimore’s per capita homicide rate, for example, is now the highest in its history, according to the Baltimore Sun: 54 homicides per 100,000 residents, beating its 1993 rate of 48.8 per 100,000 residents. Shootings in Cincinnati, lethal and not, were up 30% by mid-September 2015 compared with the same period in 2014.”

In fact, the Brennan Center’s report confirms the Ferguson effect, while also showing how clueless the media are about crime and policing.

“Homicides in St. Louis were up 60% by the end of August. In Los Angeles, the police department reports that violent crime has increased 20% as of Dec. 5; there were 16% more shooting victims in the city, while arrests were down 9.5%. Shooting incidents in Chicago are up 17% through Dec. 13.”

The Brennan researchers gathered homicide data from 25 of the nation’s 30 largest cities for the period Jan. 1, 2015, to Oct. 1, 2015. (Not included were San Francisco, Indianapolis, Columbus, El Paso and Nashville.) The researchers then tried to estimate what 2015’s full-year homicide numbers for those 25 cities would be, based on the extent to which homicides were up from January to October this year compared with the similar period in 2014.

Riot police clear demonstrators from a street in Ferguson

“To the Brennan Center and its cheerleaders, the nation’s law-enforcement officials are in the grip of a delusion that prevents them from seeing the halcyon crime picture before their eyes. For the past several months, police chiefs have been sounding the alarm about rising violent crime.”

The resulting projected increase for homicides in 2015 in those 25 cities is 11%. (By point of comparison, the FiveThirtyEight data blog looked at the 60 largest cities and found a 16% increase in homicides by September 2015.) An 11% one-year increase in any crime category is massive; an equivalent decrease in homicides would be greeted with high-fives by politicians and police chiefs. Yet the media have tried to repackage that 11% homicide increase as trivial.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Several strategies are employed to play down the jump in homicides. The simplest is to hide the actual figure. An Atlantic magazine article in November, “Debunking the Ferguson Effect,” reports: “Based on their data, the Brennan Center projects that homicides will rise slightly overall from 2014 to 2015.” A reader could be forgiven for thinking that “slightly” means an increase of, say, 2%.

Nothing in the Atlantic write-up disabuses the reader of that mistaken impression. The website Vox, declaring the crime increase “bunk,” is similarly discreet about the actual homicide rate, leaving it to the reader’s imagination. Crime & Justice News, published by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, coyly admits that “murder is up moderately in some places” without disclosing what that “moderate” increase may be. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Update: Baltimore Mayor’s Aides Wanted to Send ‘Scouts’ Ahead of Her Appearances Amid Curfew Anger

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Some community members questioned the mayor’s actions and level of visibility during and after the riots.

 reports: Nearly a week after Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake instituted a curfew in Baltimore following rioting and looting — and just one day before she lifted it — top mayoral aides were concerned about her safety amid a growing community tension.

Howard Libit, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake

Howard Libit, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake

In a May 2 email to other aides and top deputies, Gus Augustus, director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods, said he had been at Mondawmin Mall that morning and did not recommend the mayor go there because “it was very sketchy and tense.”

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“Gus Augustus, director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods, said he had been at Mondawmin Mall that morning and did not recommend the mayor go there because ‘it was very sketchy and tense.'”

“Folks want the curfew lifted,” Augustus wrote.

He recommended the city send “community folks up there to assist” instead.

[Read the full story here, at the Baltimore Sun]

He also said that while there were “many options” for where the mayor could meet with community members the following day, her team would “need scouts on the ground.” Read the rest of this entry »


Two Down: Reddit CEO Ellen Pao Resigns

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 10:  Ellen Pao leaves the California Superior Court Civic Center Courthouse during a lunch break from her trial on March 10, 2015 in San Francisco, California. Reddit interim CEO Ellen Pao is suing her former employer, Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers, for $16 million alleging she was sexually harassed by male officials. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Reddit CEO Ellen Pao has resigned after a week of uproar over the company’s firing of long-time staffer Victoria Taylor. Pao, who was serving as Reddit’s interim CEO, is leaving the company and also resigning her seat on Reddit’s board…(read more)

Variety

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The news of Pao’s resignation comes only hours after OPM Director Resigns over Hack. Who will be #3?  Would Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake‘s resignation be too much to hope for?

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Pao Out as Reddit CEO; Co-Founder Huffman Takes Over

Re/Code‘s  reports:

Ellen Pao is stepping down as Reddit’s CEO, a move that comes amid mounting pressure after a series of management mishaps that has angered its very vocal online community. Steve Huffman, Reddit co-founder and its original CEO, is Asa Mathat for Re/code MEDIAtaking over immediately.
In an interview this afternoon, Pao said the departure was a “mutual decision” with the board, due in part to different views on growth potential. “They had a more aggressive view than I did,” she said.

When I asked her directly if she was fired, Pao laughed and said, “Thanks for getting right to the point,” but again underscored that she resigned. Reddit board member and Y Combinator head Sam Altman answered more definitively about whether she was ousted: “No.”

Perhaps it is a matter of semantics, as it seemed that Pao — who has been interim CEO at the company — was inevitably headed for the exit after the ire over the firing of a support staffer for the site’s many moderators morphed and mutated into loud and sometimes vile calls for her ouster….(read more)

Re/Code

Chart: The backlash against Reddit CEO Ellen Pao

For QuartzAlice Truong reports: Ever since a popular moderator was fired July 2, users have been taking aim at Ellen Pao, the social message board’s interim CEO. They’ve shut down hundreds of forums in protest, abandoned the site for new competitors, and called for Pao’s resignation with a Change.org petition (211,000 signatures and counting)…

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…The chart above created by Imgur user fantasia123, which was shared on Reddit, charts Pao’s comment karma. (A bit of background: On Reddit, accumulating karma is akin to collecting points in a video game. Users get karma when their posts or comments are upvoted by other community members, and they lose it when they are downvoted. Though karma can’t be redeemed for anything, it’s like a badge of honor and publicly displayed next to people’s usernames.) Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Declines to Fire Self, Fires Police Commissioner Police Commissioner Anthony Batts Instead

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BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has fired Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.

Rawlings-Blake announced the firing in a news release Wednesday afternoon. She said Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis will become interim commissioner.

Police union official Gene Ryan holds a news conference on May 1 in Baltimore after the announcement of charges against six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray. Photo: Algerina Perna/TNS/Zuma Press

Rawlings did not give a reason, but the move comes amid a spike in the city’s homicide rate.

Baltimore was rocked with civil unrest in April after black resident Freddie Gray died one week after suffering a critical spinal injury in police custody. Six police officers have been criminally charged in Gray’s death.

Since the rioting stopped, the city has seen a sharp increase in violence, with 155 homicides this year, a 48 percent increase over the same period last year.  [AP/Breitbart.com]

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake abruptly dismissed Police Commissioner Anthony Batts on Wednesday, hours after the city’s police union released a report sharply critical of the department’s response to rioting here in late April.

Ms. Rawlings-Blake announced the decision minutes before Mr. Batts was due to hold a news conference. She named Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis as interim commissioner effective immediately. She was scheduled to address reporters later Wednesday afternoon.

The move came hours after the city’s police union said officers lacked appropriate riot gear and weren’t allowed to stop widespread looting during the unrest.

“Decisions implemented by top commanders of the Baltimore Police Department left officers in harm’s way,” union President Lt. Gene Ryan said at an earlier news conference. “Equally as important, the lack of preparation put the very citizens that we were sworn to protect in harm’s way as well.”

Police-department officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. A spokesman for Ms. Rawlings-Blake dismissed the report as “no more than a trumped up political document full of baseless accusations, finger pointing and personal attacks.” Read the rest of this entry »


REWIND: #Baltimore Police Chief Calls For More Gun Control, NRA Predicts Citizens Will Need Guns In Crisis

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Mike Piccione writes: In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing for the merits of additional federal gun control on Jan. 30, 2013.

Three advocates for additional gun control, one being Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson, squared off against three proponents for the Second Amendment, including NRA’s Wayne LaPierre.

When asked by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, “We need the firepower and the ability to protect ourselves from our government” — from our government, from the police — “if they knock on our doors and we need to fight back.”

[Read the full text here, at The Daily Caller]

“Do you agree with that point of view?” Senator Durbin asked NRA executive VP Wayne LaPierre.

LaPierre initially responded, “I think without any doubt, if you look at why our founding fathers put it there, they had lived under the tyranny of King George and they wanted to make sure that these free people in this new country would never be subjugated again and have to live under tyranny.”

Then the NRA VP continued with a statement that has since been proven to be true in both Ferguson, Mo., and now Baltimore, Md. Read the rest of this entry »


#Baltimore: Nearly 100 Officers Injured

Protests in Baltimore After Funeral Held For Baltimore Man Who Died While In Police Custody

2:45 p.m. During a press conference Thursday, Baltimore Police Capt. Eric Kowalcyzk said 98 officers reported injuries this week, including 43 who required hospitalization.

Nine adults and two juveniles were arrested between midnight and 3 a.m. for curfew violations, according to police.

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Of the 201 people initially arrested, 106 have been released without criminal charges. The remaining 95 have been criminally charged, Capt. Kowalcyzk said.

Capt. Kowalcyzk says they continue to investigate video footage of those who have been released from custody in hopes of filing criminal charges in the future…(read more)

CBS DC


BLUE-ON-BLUE WORD POLICE #Baltimore: The Left Corrects Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

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[VIDEO] Patrick Brennan: Baltimore’s Mayor Says She Intend to to Give Protesters ‘Space’ to ‘Destroy. But What Happened Anyway?

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At The CornerPatrick Brennan writes: Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says that she didn’t mean, in some comments she delivered Sunday, that the protesters/rioters in Baltimore had been intentionally given “space” to “destroy” property. “The mayor is not saying that she asked police to give space to people who sought to create violence,” a spokesman says, a day after she made the comments. (A raft of outlets reported them this morning  in the way she says she didn’t mean them.)

Whatever exactly she meant, it certainly seems that the Baltimore police took a hands-off approach to the unrest over the weekend, allowing the crowds to grow violent and unruly while doing little in response.

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[Read the full text here, at The Corner, National Review Online]

Presumably this is motivated in part by the sense that the protesters had some legitimate grievance and in part because it’s supposed to work, to help defuse the situation. Well, does it? Read the rest of this entry »