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May 10, 2017

"Understanding Recent Spikes and Longer Trends in American Murders"

The title of this post is the title of this timely new paper authored Jeffrey Fagan and Daniel Richman and now available via SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Since 2015, homicide rates have increased in several U.S. cities, while remaining stable in many others. Examining both recent and long-term trends in homicides and other violent crime across major cities, we find no reason to believe that these increases presage a new homicide epidemic, or that we will return to the era of elevated homicide rates that persisted in many U.S. cities over three decades through the mid-1990s. The homicide spikes may be momentary upticks in the two-decade long-term decline, and may also signal a new era of unpredictable and random surges or declines during an otherwise stable period.

We note that the spikes are generally occurring in smaller cities, with the important exception of Chicago. We then look at the neighborhood conditions in high crime areas in three large cities and show how the intersection of aggressive policing tactics and social contexts likely contribute to small areas of elevated homicide rates in otherwise safe cities. In each place, harsh police tactics, social isolation and disadvantage, and unsolved murders contribute to the withdrawal of citizens and police from the co-production of security. This Essay argues for a shift in policing tactics from order maintenance and proactive police contacts—with their potential to produce injustices and indignities—to a focus on homicide investigations, with the promise both of bringing offenders to justice, creating safe spaces for everyday social interactions, and restoring trust in the police.

May 10, 2017 at 06:47 PM | Permalink


The 3% decarceration is totally coincidental with the spike in murders. Add the Ferguson Effect and you have a totally lawyer made catastrophe. Why would lawyers do that? To generate worthless government make work jobs for their profession.

See this blog for a review:


Posted by: David Behar | May 10, 2017 10:28:21 PM

In Italy we had 2.000 homicides in 1991 and 475 in 2015. The bad years were 2002 – 2004 when homicides raised from 642 to 711

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | May 11, 2017 10:14:49 AM

Italy very roughly has about 1/5 of the population of the U.S.

The FBI reported 16K murders in 2015 in the U.S. "Homicide" sounds a like a more open-ended term.

Posted by: Joe | May 11, 2017 11:35:16 AM

Claudio. You are a racist. The rate in US whites is lower than yours. You are trying to insult our black people.

Posted by: David Behar | May 11, 2017 1:11:19 PM

David, in another thread this morning I asked if you would leave, which you said you would do if I asked. I am asking you again, because it seems you cannot keep yourself from attacking others in nearly every posting.

Posted by: Doug B. | May 11, 2017 2:28:38 PM

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