The “Ferguson Effect” gets worse

At the end of last year we discussed ‘Terrorism, thug culture and the entitlement society‘.  In that and other articles we mentioned the so-called ‘Ferguson Effect‘ – the chilling effect on police and policing of the largely unwarranted (you should pardon the expression) accusations of deliberate police brutality against the black community.

PJ Media claims that the ‘Ferguson Effect’ is getting worse by the day.

As crime soars in Chicago, the city’s police officers are burdened with further disincentives to respond. An Illinois state law that took effect this year requires all police officers to complete a report on every person stopped for any reason and to give the person a receipt. In Chicago, the requirement is even more onerous: the form used by Chicago P.D. is two full pages, this owing to an agreement between the city and the ACLU. And now Rahm Emanuel claims to be surprised that his officers are making fewer stops. If you want cops to do less of something, make them write more paper about it.

There are similar developments in Los Angeles, where as of March 6, murders were up 27 percent and arrests down 10 percent when compared to the same period last year. The LAPD’s rank and file had already lost faith in the department’s command, and a decision by the police commission on Tuesday will only worsen matters. In a unanimous vote, the five commissioners adopted a recommendation to change the LAPD’s use-of-force guidelines in such a way that officers involved in shootings will be judged on whether or not they did enough to avoid using deadly force.

. . .

… the result will be higher crime when officers choose to disengage rather than take action that will be judged according to the naïve, utopian standards of the police commission’s social justice warriors. There is the further danger … that cops will end up dead or wounded when, rather than defend themselves, they pause for the type of reflection these proposed changes would seem to require.

Already this year, twelve police officers have been shot to death in the United States, including one on her very first day on patrol.   That’s three times as many as at this time in 2015. Yes, there is a violence problem in this country, but it’s not the police that are causing it. Things will get much worse before they get better.

There’s more at the link.

I’ve already pointed out that police misconduct is a very real issue, and sometimes justifies distrust of, greater scrutiny over and more stringent restrictions on actions by law enforcement personnel.  Nevertheless, when such distrust, scrutiny and restrictions actually impede normal policing to the point that public safety is impaired, they become a liability rather than an asset.  There has to be a balance, but at the moment there appears to be little or no effort being made to find one.  The pendulum isn’t just swinging from side to side:  it’s being pushed – sometimes violently – from one extreme to the other.  This makes for very unstable policing, which contributes to the worsening instability in society.

The article mentions the Los Angeles “police commission’s social justice warriors”.  The same naivety is visible in many other centers.  I encountered it in Nashville not long ago, when Black Lives Matter protesters shut down a major interstate highway running through the city center.  Instead of clearing them out of the way, as happened yesterday in Arizona, Metro PD provided them with water and portable toilets while they ‘negotiated’ with them.  Many, including myself, were outraged at such over-the-top, bending-over-backwards political correctness.  I don’t believe that law and order can survive such pandering, and I believe it’s almost always out of place.  If I were a typical Nashville police officer, I’d have been disgusted at the moral spinelessness of my leaders . . . but I’d also have received and understood the message, loud and clear, that if I enforced the law no matter what (even if I did so impartially and fairly), those leaders would not ‘have my back‘.  They’d hang me out to dry in a skinny minute if it benefited their department and themselves to do so.

That’s a very uncomfortable place for any police officer to be.



  1. For the past three decades, one iron-clad philosophy of policing has been the "Broken Windows" philosophy where the police crack down on even minor offenses. This philosophy has proven very effective at reducing crime, especially when teamed with properly supervised community policing.

    The "Social Justice Warriors" abhor Broken Windows policing and are doing everything in their power to reduce it. New York City has recently moved away from it and are now seeing an uptick in crime.

    The Ferguson effect comes into play when you punish a police officer for doing his job, or protecting himself. Officer Darren Wilson was found absolutely righteous by both the state and the feds, yet he was hounded out of his job because he shot Michael Brown in a righteous shooting. The Chief of Police and Mayor let the social narrative gain footing over the simple, easily proven facts of the case.

    The Black Lives Matter people are anarchists who want to reduce the effectiveness of the police and thus far, they've been very effective in pushing their narrative.

  2. All part of the plan. Train them not to respect the law, AND train them not to respect those that try to keep it. Anarchy is nearly here, tyranny will follow.

  3. I read the entire article. Very interesting. I have a close friend who retired from the state police last year, and I'm glad he did. I only see things getting worse unless there's a change.

  4. To enlarge slightly on Gorges Smythe's last sentence Anarchy is nearly here, tyranny will follow followed by execution of the useful idiots that caused the swing to tyranny.

  5. It turns out that "fixing broken windows" can be done by means other than trashing the 4th Amendment and declaring war on law-abiding citizens who happen to live on the wrong street. Boston has gotten similar results not by treating poor neighborhoods like occupied territory, but rather by working with people in poor neighborhoods. It turns out that a lot of them don't like crime either. Once the police demonstrate that they're capable of distinguishing between guilty poor people and innocent poor people — in other words, when the police stop acting like just one more gang of thugs with a bad attitude — everybody gets along okay. I understand that this is less aesthetically satisfying because nobody gets a broom-handle up the ass, but we're willing to surrender the aesthetic high ground to Il Duce down there in NYC if that's what it takes.

    A curious side effect of Giuliani's policies is that violent crime in northeastern Pennsylvania has gone through the roof. Giuliani has not, in fact, done a damn thing to stop crime. He just shifted some of it out of his jurisdiction.

    Do you really think the homeless people just vanish when you pass a law forbidding their existence? I know they're not human beings, that's obvious, even if some of them are white. They can't be human beings, because they smell funny. They have no more rights than a rock or a stray dog. So don't get me wrong, I'm not making a moral point here. It's more of a logistical thing: Mass can neither be created nor destroyed, not even by Rudy Giuliani (he tried to get that one repealed but those goofy guys at the Institute for Advanced Study are all a bunch of . . . you know . . . and they wouldn't listen). Are the homeless people still alive? If so, they've gone somewhere. It would have been more efficient to kill them. They're not productive, are they? Hardly. The vol^H^H^Hpeople of the United States must not tolerate unproductive units.

  6. While the idea of and goals of "broken window policing" might be effective and desirable, like all things on this earth it is carried out by MEN. And men are by definition not angels. Men are lazy. Men are corruptible. Men are petty. Men in the position to arbitrarily punish quickly become someone who feels that others must 'respect my authority.'

    What results is a police force handed a tool of oppression, when every minor infraction is treated as a major crime. A tool to harass and penalize whoever they please. It results in a 'low hanging fruit' approach to policing. The difficult crimes, the truly major crimes, go unprosecuted while 8 officers respond to a TAX infraction involving <$5 worth of cigarettes at a bodega.

    There have been other reasonable and well supported theories of why NYC benefited from reduced crime after the "broken windows" policy went into effect. Two such are the idea that increased access to abortion led to a decrease in unwanted children, when being unwanted is one of the leading indicators for taking up a life of crime; the other is the banning of leaded gasoline leading to fewer mentally damaged children, and subsequently lower crime.

    While I like the idea of 'broken windows' I'm forever thankful that I don't have to live under the real world application of it.


  7. Another consequence of the paperwork requirement: if the police must document every interaction with a member of the public, it follows that any encounter with a cop goes on your permanent record. Somehow, I don't see this being a Good Thing.
    There's been a huge decrease in the flexibility to deal with minor offenses with off-the-record verbal warnings, largely in the name of clamping down on off-the-record tactile warnings. And do we believe that the rogue cops are going to bother with the paperwork? Riiiight.
    Then there's the time and effort spent keeping current on procedures written by people who don't have to live with them.
    A large dose of sanity is called for, but that seems to be in short supply this season. I think the factory may have been shut down by the EPA.

  8. SiG, above, said this: To enlarge slightly on Gorges Smythe's last sentence Anarchy is nearly here, tyranny will follow followed by execution of the useful idiots that caused the swing to tyranny

    Under the heading of short term gain, long term pain, comes the parallel philosophy of "we're not locked in here with you, you're locked in here with us."

    Police serve not only to protect the law-abiding citizens from the criminal but also to protect the criminal from the law-abiding citizens. Police, admittedly, abuse their power and authority, sometimes occasionally, sometimes frequently; most of the time, the infrequent minor abuses are deserved by the recipient, and the major abuses result in corrective action by both the agency and the society in which it operates. Not often enough, I'll agree, but humans have consistently proved to be imperfect.

    Thing is, when the police back off it's easy for the thugs to fill that empty space, much to the disadvantage of the citizens. There will come a tipping point at which the citizens decide – collectively, as in a preference cascade, that enough is enough – and assume the role of Defenders Of The Realm, one at a time.

    My community lost a police officer yesterday. He died while trying to serve a warrant. That warrant would have resulted in an individual – who previously had admitted to being a gang member – being arrested, presented at jail and booked, then taken to court. At court, a judge would have reviewed the warrant-justified arrest for legitimacy, something which is Constitutionally guaranteed, bail would have been set, also something Constitutionally guaranteed, defense against the charges would have been arranged, again, Constitutionally guaranteed, and great quantities of documentation would have been generated on each step of the process, available for review by anyone sufficiently interested to request it.

    At the conclusion, the police officer would have gone home to his family, and within a day or so, so probably would have the person who was the subject of the warrant, free on bail. As it turned out, two people died yesterday afternoon, one doing his job, the other by his own hand.

    Consider the complex and often byzantine process by which investigations are conducted, evidence presented to prosecuting attorneys, necessary warrants argued for to judges, requests submitted to arrestees to comply with issued warrants, arrests certified, charges levied, defenses arranged. Are those processes perfect and fault-free? Of course not – humans are responsible for each step within. Errors happen. But – the process is designed, and managed, to minimize those errors, and to correct them when discovered.

    Does anyone capable of rational thought want anything other than the process I described above to be followed? If I have no alternative other than being my own protector do people threatening me think I will do other than protect myself and my family with the greatest vigor, and the most immediate and effective violence, possible? Do they not think I cannot understand threats sufficiently to not prosecute those threats from 400 meters out before they prosecute themselves against me at 15 feet? If the fabric of society frays sufficiently, if the support structures become unavailable, if I and my neighbors conclude we're on our own, arriving in our neighborhood as the wrong color, or the wrong clothing, or confronting us elsewhere, will be a death sentence because your death, delivered at distance, or rapidly close-in at unintended provocation, buys us safety for another day. We will win at that game because many of us have played it for keeps, either in service of our nation or our communities, and we value that nation and those communities, because that's all we, and our children, have.

    Think hard before you embrace what you claim as your dream, for that dream will come with a price that you and yours may not want to suffer.

  9. "Anarchy is nearly here, tyranny will follow."

    We are not even close to "anarchy". What we are close to is chaos. Anarchy and chaos are not the same thing. Anarchy is merely the absence of a government. Most people live their daily lives in a state of anarchy. We do not need anyone else telling us what to do or how to live. The average person does not rape, steal and murder because there is a law against it. The lack of a law would make no difference.
    What we have now is chaotic tyranny.
    We have gangs of cops and gangs of thugs both preying upon the citizens, of the two, the cops are much more dangerous. In an anarchy you can protect yourself from dangers. In the world we live in now, you cannot defend yourself from they predator cops who pillage us at every opportunity.

  10. Nick @11:05,

    IIRC, leaded gas was never implicated in human lead levels. Not found in workers that dealt with gas supplies, for starters.

    It was demonized so it could be banned because it was not compatible with catalytic converters, which the .gov wanted for clean air purposes.

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