Saturday, May 14, 2016


"Experts cannot agree on what to call a recent rise in homicides, much less its cause, but new data on Friday that showed a sharp spike in homicide rates in more than 20 cities rekindled debate over hether it was time for alarm.
The data showed particularly significant increases in homicides in six cities in the first three months of the year compared with the same period last year — Chicago, Dallas, Jacksonville, Fla., Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Memphis. But almost as many cities reported a notable decline in recent months." 
One potentially dysfunctional explanation has been provides by the Director of the FBI.
"The heroin epidemic, a resurgence in gang violence and economic factors in some cities were all offered as explanations, but the most contentious theory came from an agency that usually does not worry much about local crime: the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The agency’s director, James Comey, has linked rising crime to less aggressive policing — the “viral video effect,” he called it this week, rejecting the more racially charged “Ferguson effect.” His theory, however, found little support from the White House, law enforcement groups, criminologists or even the group that gave him the new data on Friday.
Continue reading the main story

Mr. Comey said that a string of videos that went viral on the Internet had led some officers to become reluctant to confront suspects. He conceded that he was operating off anecdotal evidence, but such reluctance, he said, could be contributing to the increase in homicides in some cities — an increase that he said left him deeply worried.
“Something is happening,” he said on Wednesday.
But the White House pushed back again on Friday. The White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, said that the increase in homicides in some cities was a concern and that the administration had already taken steps to address it, including a roundup by the Marshals Service last year of some 8,000 fugitives.

What's wrong with the Director's theory? The Ferguson effect and BLM, etc. are nationwide phenomena.  Yet homicide is down some places.  There is no significant empirical evidence to back up the Director's theory.  Finally, the theory plays into the hands of those who believe that aggressive policing and a excessive force are necessary to keep the poor and uppity minorities in check.  White supremacists view the police as a tool to keep blacks under control.  In this view  excessive force is an effective crime-control strategy. However, there is not evidence to support that assertion.         

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""But he said that “this is not a widespread phenomenon, at least based on what we know now.”

Regarding Mr. Comey’s theory, Mr. Earnest said: “This administration makes policy decisions that are rooted in evidence, that are rooted in science. We can’t make broad, sweeping policy decisions, or draw conclusions based on anecdotal evidence. That’s irresponsible and ultimately counterproductive.”


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