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 »


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

 baltimorei-mayor-curfew-authority

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.”

Blake-Baltimore

“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 »


[VIDEO] New Video, Radio Transmissions During Baltimore Riots Released

Demonstrators throw rocks at police in Baltimore after the funeral of Freddie Gray on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press

“He got hit with a brick. We’re going to standby here. I can’t leave these officers here by themselves.”

BALTIMORE — Gina Cook reports:  When riots erupted in Baltimore in April, 150 cops were hurt as the city descended into chaos. Newly released video and radio transmissions are providing an additional viewpoint into just how confusing and tense it was for Baltimore Police.

“Hold the line! Do not go forward and do not chase them!”

Some of the audio makes it clear the leaders of the police department realized their officers were ill equipped for the escalating situation, Domen reports.

Surveillance video taken at the corner of North and Pennsylvania avenues shows the progression of the riots and looting.

The following video was obtained by the Baltimore Sun:

(NO AUDIO) City surveillance video obtained by The Sun shows the intersection of Pennsylvania and North avenues over the span of several hours on April 27, 2015. That intersection, one of several locations in Baltimore that saw disturbances that night in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death, became the epicenter for violence and protests for several days. (Baltimore Sun)

“Some of the audio makes it clear the leaders of the police department realized their officers were ill equipped for the escalating situation, Domen reports.”

WNEW’s John Domen reports police radio transmissions also provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the panic officers experienced during those hours. Read the rest of this entry »


Next Week’s New Yorker Cover ‘Injustice: #Baltimore, 2015’, by Peter Mendelsund

NYker-Baltimore-Cover

An early look at next week’s cover, “Injustice: Baltimore, 2015,” by Peter Mendelsund.