Is the Ferguson Effect Real?

There is hypothesis that a pullback in policing activity following high-profile arrest incidents and subsequent protests and riots causes an increase in crime. This has been dubbed the “Ferguson Effect,” after the location of one particularly high-profile incident.

But is it real? Charles Fain Lehman has this article in the City Journal reviewing two recent studies.

Here is his bottom line:

In other words, these two studies provide good evidence that high-profile policing incidents and the ensuing scrutiny drive discretionary police activity down and violent crime, especially homicide, up. That doesn’t settle the debate, of course. It remains an open question why a reduction in enforcement of petty crimes would lead to an increase in serious ones like homicide. But it does give support to those who propose a relationship between 2020’s wave of anti-police protests and the ensuing homicide wave still sweeping the country—and to those who believe that continued hostility to the police will lead to more bloodshed.

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