PowerLine – “Ferguson effect” documented in Chicago

PowerLine – “Ferguson effect” documented in Chicago

“Ferguson effect” documented in Chicago

Posted: 13 Apr 2016 11:10 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)Rob Arthur and Jeff Asher at FiveThrityEight show that arrests have declined and gun violence has spiked since the release of the video showing Laquan McDonald being shot and killed by the police. This is evidence of the “Ferguson effect.”

Arthur and Asher explain:

After some cities saw a rise in crime last year, police chiefs and even the head of the FBI suggested that the United States was experiencing a “Ferguson effect”: Police officers sensitive to public scrutiny in the wake of protests over the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, were pulling back on police work, the theory went, and emboldened criminals were seizing their chance.

Some dismissed this theory or expressed lots of skepticism given the volatility of crime statistics. However, according, to Arthur and Asher:

The spike in gun violence in Chicago since the end of November. . .is too sharp to be explained by seasonal fluctuations or chance. There have been 175 homicides and approximately 675 nonfatal shooting incidents from Dec. 1 through March 31, according to our analysis of city data.

The 69 percent drop in the nonfatal shooting arrest rate and the 48 percent drop in the homicide arrest rate since the video’s release also cannot be explained by temperature or bad luck. Even though crime statistics can see a good amount of variation from year to year and from month to month, this spike in gun violence is statistically significant, and the falling arrest numbers suggest real changes in the process of policing in Chicago since the video’s release.

(Emphasis added)

The Ferguson effect isn’t unique to Chicago:

A similar decline in police activity and increase in violence occurred in Baltimore after protests over the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody. Likewise, police activity in New York City slowed down dramatically after police killed Eric Garner. In the case of the New York Police Department, some news outlets suggested that the slowdown was a large-scale, organized protest against interference by the mayor.

Arthur and Asher find little evidence of an organized police slowdown in Chicago. However, “in both public statements and private conversations, former and current Chicago police officers, crime analysts and journalists have described a climate of low morale and hesitation among officers that has led to fewer arrests.”

The authors quote Roseanna Ander, an executive director at the University of Chicago Crime Lab. She finds that “proactive” policing, including street stops, that is designed to prevent crime has diminished, as officers seek to cut down on their discretionary interactions with civilians. “Certainly they’ll respond to 911 calls … but if you have a group of guys on the corner and you think you have probable cause to stop them and see if one of them has a gun, you’re probably not going to do that,” Ander says.

The diminution of proactive policing dates back to the release of the McDonald video. A police department spokesman attributes it to a new form that must be filled out after some interactions with members of the public. This requirement is the result of the city’s August 2015 settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union over the department’s “stop and frisk” program.

It’s logical to suppose that the paperwork requirement might reduce interaction with the public. However, Arthur and Asher point out that the requirement was implemented 38 days after the release of the Laquan McDonald video. By that time, the overall arrest rate had fallen from 26 percent to 19 percent. Since then, the overall arrest rate has risen slightly.

Reducing police interaction with the public will reduce the number of cases in which the police acts abusively. But the evidence is that, not surprisingly, reduced interaction will lead to an increase in violent crime, including gun violence.

Given the rarity of unjustified police shootings, it is obvious that policies and attitudes that discourage proactive policing will result in a very bad trade-off. And the trade-off will be worst for the residence of low income and minority-centric neighborhoods where violent crime and gun violence are the most intense.

From the Annals of Scientific Objectivity

Posted: 13 Apr 2016 09:45 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)In the last few years, the virtues of a low-fat diet have gradually come undone, though some “nutritional anthropologists” keep the faith like those Japanese soldiers in the island jungles who refused be believe World War II was over. Yesterday the Washington Post reported on how the full data from a major nutrition study that helped cement the old conventional wisdom was never fully analyzed, but might have saved us from error (and saved some lives) if it had been:

It was one of the largest, most rigorous experiments ever conducted on an important diet question: How do fatty foods affect our health? Yet it took more than 40 years  — that is, until today —  for a clear picture of the results to reach the public. . .

Today, the principles of that special diet — less saturated fat, more vegetable oils — are included in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the government’s official diet advice book. Yet the fuller accounting of the data indicates that the advice is, at best, unsupported by the massive trial. In fact, it appears to show just the opposite:  Patients who lowered their cholesterol, presumably because of the special diet, actually suffered more heart-related deaths than those who did not. . .

The new researchers, led by investigators from the National Institutes of Health and the University of North Carolina, conclude that the absence of the data over the past 40 years or so may have led to a misunderstanding of this key dietary issue.

“Incomplete publication has contributed to the overestimation of benefits and underestimation of potential risks” of the special diet, they wrote.

Good thing this could never happen with climate science. What’s that you say?

But Broste suggested that at least part of the reason for the incomplete publication of the data might have been human nature. The Minnesota investigators had a theory that they believed in — that reducing blood cholesterol would make people healthier. Indeed, the idea was widespread and would soon be adopted by the federal government in the first dietary recommendations. So when the data they collected from the mental patients conflicted with this theory, the scientists may have been reluctant to believe what their experiment had turned up.

“The results flew in the face of what people believed at the time,” said Broste. “Everyone thought cholesterol was the culprit. This theory was so widely held and so firmly believed — and then it wasn’t borne out by the data. The question then became: Was it a bad theory? Or was it bad data? … My perception was they were hung up trying to understand the results.”

Trump way ahead in New York

Posted: 13 Apr 2016 07:47 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)The New York primary is less than a week away, and at least four new polls are out. The polls are by Quinnipiac, PPP, Baruch College, and Liberty.

Donald Trump is far ahead in each. His share ranges from 51 percent (PPP) to 60 percent (Baruch).

Ted Cruz runs third, just behind John Kasich, in all three polls. His share ranges from 14 percent (Baruch) to 19 percent (Quinnipiac).

In the RCP average, which covers eight polls taken since early April, it’s Trump 54, Kasich 21, and Cruz 18. In no poll taken during this period is Trump below 51 percent. In no poll is his lead less than 26 points.

Politico reports that Trump is weakest in upstate New York, but strong even there. It cites a Liberty Research poll (which is included in the RCP average) that puts Trump’s upstate support at 50 percent, compared to 67 percent in New York City and 60 percent on Long Island and in other NYC suburbs. [Note: (1) these numbers, coupled with the proposition that Trump is the weakest upstate, seem inconsistent with the poll’s finding that Trump’s statewide support is at 52 percent; (2) the numbers reported by Politico don’t seem quite to match the poll’s cross-tabs, though maybe I’m missing something].

In the Liberty poll, as reported by Politico, Cruz is at 22 percent in upstate New York. Kasich does slightly better at 24 percent.

Because he is lagging comparatively, albeit not substantially, upstate, Trump has focused his efforts there. Recently, he held very large rallies in Rochester and Buffalo.

Trump’s message — that Rochester (and, presumably, Buffalo) “will boom again” — seems like a winning one, if the folks up there are willing to suspend disbelief.

Speaking of disbelief, Trump may be using phony stats to make his point. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports:

[Trump] came armed with statistics about the Rochester economy, some of which missed the mark. He claimed, for example, that Rochester had lost 4,000 jobs in the past six months. But according to seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Rochester metro gained 1,337 jobs.

Regardless, Trump promised a turnaround: “I’m telling you, I will bring it back so fast.”

One Trump supporter told the newspaper, “So much of what [Trump has] said, I’ll admit, sometimes he doesn’t say the right things. But he means the right thing.”

Political candidates don’t usually get this sort of benefit of the doubt. Normally, it works the other way around — people hear candidates say “the right thing” but doubt their sincerity.

If Trump is the Republican nominee, the electorate as a whole will neither suspend disbelief nor give him the benefit of the doubt. Nor should it.

Why we dropped the bomb

Posted: 13 Apr 2016 06:54 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)In the words of the Sam Cooke song, President Obama doesn’t know much about history. Here I cite my long post “Obama veers into the Daily Ditch,” discussing Obama’s almost unbelievably misguided discourse on Winston Churchill and World War II at his first presidential press conference. What Obama lacks in historical knowledge he makes up in the anti-American attitude of the old new left.

David Harsanyi notes that “The Obama administration is now apologizing for America winning World War II.” Paul takes up a related point in “World War II death totals tell quite a story.”

In the classic PJTV video below, Bill Whittle sought to correct the record that is in the process of revision regarding our dropping the bombs that ended Japan’s war on the United States in the Pacific during World War II. It’s a classic made timely once again.


Professor Williamson Murray is an eminent historian of World War II, emeritus of Ohio State. In the video below, Professor Murray gives the lecture “Preventing the most terrible of wars.” In the lecture, he vindicates the reasoning that compelled the dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. (Thanks to proud Ohio State alum Jim Couch ’74, Colonel, USAR, Ret.)

While we’re at it, we may as well throw in Paul Fussell’s classic 1981 New Republic essay: “Thank God for the atom bomb.”

A conspiracy so intense

Posted: 13 Apr 2016 05:25 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)Democratic officeholders seem to be operating a conspiracy to stifle free speech and suppress heterodox thought. They’re on C.P. time, alright: Communist Party time. Glenn Reynolds names names in his USA Today column “Dear attorneys general, conspiring against free speech is a crime.” Glenn identifies U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as co-conspirators. Glenn lays out the conspiracy as follows.

First, Schneiderman and reportedly Harris sought to investigate Exxon in part for making donations to groups and funding research by individuals who think “climate change” is either a hoax, or not a problem to the extent that people like Harris and Schneiderman say it is. This investigation was denounced by the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Hans Bader as unconstitutional.

Then after Bader’s critique, Walker subpoenaed the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s donor lists. The purpose of this subpoena is, it seems quite clear, to punish CEI by making people less willing to donate.

Glenn points to “an unprecedented meeting by 20 state attorneys general aimed, environmental news site EcoWatch reports, at targeting entities that have ‘stymied attempts to combat global warming.’ You don’t have to be paranoid to see a conspiracy here.”

It’s a sign of the times, as is the silence that enshrouds the story.

UPDATE: Within an hour of posting the summary above we received notice of this update by CEI president Kent Lassman: “CEI will surmount crimethink persecution.”

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