by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jack Dunphy reports for National Review Online on rising murder rates in the wake of the national controversy over a Ferguson, Mo., police shooting.
The murder rate is going up in many cities across the country, the New York Times informs us, and the experts are baffled. “Experts cannot agree on what to call a recent rise in homicides,” says the Times, “much less its cause, but new data on Friday that showed a sharp spike in homicide rates in more than 20 cities rekindled debate over whether it was time for alarm.”
One presumes these “experts” are a later generation of those who told us, some 25 years ago, that the police were powerless to bring down the appalling levels of violent crime seen in the country in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Crime is a function of the economy, they instructed, and better policing will not change it. They were at a loss to explain how committed, data-driven police work cut the violent crime numbers by 50 percent or more since those grim years. In 1990, New York City saw a horrifying 2,245 murders; in 2014 the number was 328. Los Angeles hit the high-water mark for murders in 1992, with 1,092; in 2014 there were 260.
Experts were unwilling to credit good police work with these startling decreases. Now they are similarly blind to the fact that a retreat by police is now leading to rising murder rates. The Times cited several possible explanations for the increase in murders, including “the heroin epidemic, a resurgence in gang violence, and economic factors in some cities,” but only FBI director James Comey was willing to name the contributing factor that is obvious to any cop working America’s inner cities: the “Ferguson effect.”