November 18, 2015
Keeping in mind the research that may suggest crime increases resulting from a different kind of "Ferguson Effect"
As reported in this Washington Post piece, in the course of testifying before Congress yesterday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch indicated there was no data to support the notion that an increase in crime can and should be attributed to police officers pulling back from their duties in the wake of conversies over excessive use of police force. Here are the details:
Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Tuesday that there is “no data” to support the idea that the police are not aggressively protecting communities since the increased use of videos and the focus on police tactics after the death of Michael Brown, something referred to as “the Ferguson effect.”
In testimony during her first appearance before the House Judiciary Committee since her confirmation, Lynch agreed with President Obama and her predecessor Eric H. Holder Jr. and pushed back against comments made by FBI Director James B. Comey and Chuck Rosenberg, the acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, both of whom report to her.
“While certainly there might be anecdotal evidence there, as all have noted, there’s no data to support it, and what I have seen in my travels across this country is the dedication, the commitment and the resolve of our brave men and women in law enforcement to improving policing, to embracing the 21st Century Task Force recommendations, and to continuing to have a dialogue that makes our country safer for all,” Lynch said.
In two recent speeches, at the University of Chicago Law School on Oct. 23 and at a speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police three days later, Comey said that “viral videos” of police activity had sent a “chill wind” through law enforcement and he suggested a link between this year’s spike in crime in some major U.S. cities and the growing protests alleging excessive use of force by police. Rosenberg said he agreed with Comey and that he had “heard the same thing” from law enforcement officials....
Lynch’s comments on the “Ferguson effect” came after Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) alluded to Comey and Rosenberg by saying that “some from within your department” have suggested that dialogue on police and community relations “have somehow reduced the willingness of some police officers to perform their duties.”
“Does our conversations about civil rights and the appropriate use of force by police somehow make us less safe?” Conyers asked Lynch. “Our discussion about civil rights, and the appropriate use of force and all police tactics can only serve to make all of us, community members and police officers, safer,” Lynch replied. “In my discussions with police officers around the country, I have found a positive engagement on these issues.”
In addition to being pleased to hear AG Lynch suggest hard data rather than anecdote should inform discussions about a "Ferguson Effect" impact police activities, the focus on data in this context got me thinking about the important research done by Tom Tyler and Jeffrey Fagan and others about the connections between the perceived legitimacy and fairness of the law and its enforcers and the willingness of persons to comply with the law. This short piece from DOJ's Office of Justice Programs, titled "Procedural Justice: Increasing Trust to Decrease Crime," spotlights and summarizes some of this research:
A wealth of empirical evidence shows that when police are at their best — when they are neutral and unbiased; treat those with whom they interact with respect and dignity; and give folks a chance to explain their side of the story — they can actually bring out the qualities they want to see in their communities. People who are policed in this way are more likely to view the police as legitimate. And people who view the police as legitimate are more likely to obey the law, cooperate with authorities and engage positively in their communities.... [N]umerous empirical studies persuasively demonstrate that perceptions of legitimacy have a greater impact on people’s compliance with the law than their fear of formal sanctions.
The bad news is, if people experience an interaction with a police officer that suggests to them the police are untrustworthy, their ties with law and their sense of its legitimacy weaken, which may lead to a lack of cooperation with the police and more law breaking in the future. Put another way, unnecessarily aggressive policing brings out the worst in the people toward whom it is directed.
The factors that contribute most to people viewing a police stop as negative are whether the police threaten or use force arbitrarily, inconsistently or in ways that suggest a lack of professionalism or the existence of prejudice, or if police are humiliating or disrespectful. Notably, whether the stop results in an arrest is less important for purposes of perceived legitimacy than how that stop is carried out....
And it’s not just the stops of particular individuals that matter. People also develop their sense of police legitimacy from what they hear and see from their neighbors, family members and friends. Picking out some individuals and treating them fairly won’t be sufficient, if those same people witness and hear about unfairness directed toward others in their community. Every interaction the police have communicates information about the legal system. Moreover, this message resonates beyond the person who is dealing with the police, because others in the neighborhood hear about it, as do that person’s friends and family.
Notably, right around the time of all the unrest in Feguson, Tom Tyler authored this Huffington Post piece discussing his research which ends this way (with link from source and my emphsasis added):
Jeffrey Fagan and I recently studied young men in New York City and found that those who mistrusted the police were twice as likely to be engaged in criminal activity. Second they increase hostility and lead to a greater likelihood of conflict when the police deal with community members on the street and when the community reacts to police actions such as the Brown shooting. Such anger produces precisely the type of unrest so visible in Ferguson. As so many of the marchers in that community have suggested, if people do not experience justice when they deal with the police, there will be no peace.
This research has me thinking and fearing that the increase in crime being experienced in many American cities in 2015 may be a result not of decreased police activity as a result of Feguson, but of increased mistrust of police among those already likely to have deep concerns about the legitimacy of our criminal laws.
November 18, 2015 at 12:49 PM | Permalink
The vile feminist lawyers serving as mayor and district attorney of Baltimore have achieved their goal of 300 murders of black males this year.
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 18, 2015 3:24:23 PM
Again, you lawyer morons. Ascertainment bias. The Cave Man Effect.
If I am committing a lot of crimes, do I trust the police more or less?
Once again, the lawyer moron, has it perfectly backwards.
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 18, 2015 9:26:34 PM
"Attorney General Loretta Lynch indicated there was no data to support the notion that an increase in crime can and should be attributed to police officers pulling back from their duties in the wake of conversies (sic) over excessive use of police force."
If she read the C&C blog, she would have all the "facts" she needs to know that there is a crime wave directly caused by the "Ferguson Effect", LE backing away from their "duties" because of video cameras and Sentencing Law Reform which will soon cause the Zombie Apocalypse. Who needs data when all you need is "confirmation bias".
What a bunch of cr-p!
PS: I don't care if there is only "one bad apple" in the Justus system. The old saying goes one bad apple spoils the whole bunch and that is truer now more than ever, especially if he/she can and does get away with it.
Posted by: albeed | Nov 19, 2015 8:05:38 AM
"Ferguson Effect". The Atty General has the wrong meaning for the terms. First of all the two words go way back to 1967. Then Ferguson had lots of good looking loose high school girls who rode around in convertibles to neighboring towns like Florissant, Jennings, Riverview to the various Steak and Shake venues. They stirred up the guys and hence the other girls in those other towns followed suit so to speak. The other term was was invented then by Ferguson guys: Full of juice, ready for use and don't let your meat loaf.
I was there.
Posted by: Liberty1st | Nov 19, 2015 8:29:43 PM