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Crime, policing, and race

October 3, 2016

Just released FBI statistics for 2015 show an up-tick in violent crimes, seemingly something more than noise. Whether or not it stops the decades long trend downward is yet to be seen. It is not nearly to justify Trump’s rhetoric. Studies are divided on any relationship to police killings and reaction to them. But if there is, what is the causal link? Many on the right accuse the police of unprofessionally retracting where there is protest over a police killing. Another possibility, for which there is some evidence, is that sensationalized police killings drive a wedge between the community and police.

I think it is a mistake to leap to conclusions about racial bias from any one incident of police violence. Only the aftermath tells whether or not it is well handled by the police department and legal institutions involved. More, it is fallacious to draw conclusions about how police do generally from the small set of incidents that become sensationalized. Where one should look instead is to the studies of broader patterns.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Laira permalink
    October 4, 2016 10:39 am

    If the police released more numbers on the people they kill and harrass, they may help assess more accurately what is going on. Instead they hunker down IN SPITE of few convictions. Video at the hands of citizens has not creaded more problems than already exist, only brought existing problems to light. The militarizatiom is also a very concerning trend that must be stop. That is what swat teams used to be for. The harrassment for fines in Ferguson are facts as well, not sensationalization.

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