The director of the FBI, who might know something about cops, went on record recently about the alleged “Ferguson Effect.” I know my colleagues generally don’t believe in the effect but every piece of anecdotal evidence tells us that cops have pulled back---and in some neighborhoods, have pulled out. I’m not sure anyone has direct quantitative measures of this....as it is a fairly recent development, but too many cops and varying levels of responsibility are saying it. I’m going to take their word on it.
Personally, I think the “Ferguson Effect” is multi-dimensional. It’s not all about the media publicly lynching cops based on zero facts. Nor is it about gangs of youth and adults interfering with arrests, nor is it about folks pulling out cell phones and recording every incident. And I’m certain it has nothing at all to do with the utter betrayal of the police by the DOJ and those in the Civil Rights Division.
Instead, I think it is ALL OF THE ABOVE. Cops are humans who engage in the same type of cost-benefit analyses everyone else engages in. If the costs of making an arrest become too high, that arrest may not happen. If the cost of policing a neighborhood escalates above some point......it won’t be long before you cannot find a cop in that neighborhood. I mean seriously, this is not rocket science.
I recently posted comments by the Mayor of Chicago who argued that cops have gone “fetal.” Well, let’s add to this discussion comments by the director of the FBI. Give them a read or watch his talk:
John Paul Wright and Matt DeLisi
Professors of Crime and Criminology