Ferguson Effect Fables

I’ll try to deal with this in more depth later this week, but we observe, by way of Kevin Drum, that Heather MacDonald is, once again, attempting to claim there’s a ‘Ferguson Effect’: crime rates are increasing because police are afraid to arrest criminals.

Keep in mind that Heather MacDonald is at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank that predicted in the early 1990s there would be a wave of super-predators (their phrase) which would swarm over U.S. cities. This prediction was followed by a sustained two-decade drop in urban crime. So consider the source.

It’s pretty clear the Manhattan Institute and Heather MacDonald are a one note song: no matter what the purported cause, the answer is always more police and stricter policing–which is a de facto policy of arresting more black people. If Ferguson hadn’t happened, does anyone doubt the Manhattan Institute wouldn’t have called for more police and stricter policing (and arresting more black people)? There are plenty of things one could blame instead: the maturing heroin trade or the rising synthetic drug trade (perhaps the bloom is off the rose of these traditional standbys).

Can’t blame increase in guns on the street though. And larger contexts–and solutions to those problems–shall not be breached. Ever.

Anyway, more on this later this week time permitting.

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