Those in the press who have insisted that the "Ferguson effect" is an urban legend will have a hard time explaining why the two cities with the most potential to be affected by this supposedly mythical phenomenon now have murder rates among the top 20 in the entire world.
St. Louis, Missouri, next door to Ferguson, where a leftist-"inspired" campaign of "protests," civil disorder and rioting began in August 2014, came in at Number 15, with a rate of 59 murders per 100,000 residents. The city's 188 murders in 2015 were up from 159 in 2014 and 120 in 2013. Baltimore, Maryland, where Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake infamously admitted in April 2015, as public safety was deteriorating in her city, that "we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that," was Number 19, with 344 murders (a rate of 55 per 100,000).
The "Ferguson Effect" is a combination of two factors laid out by Heather McDonald in the Wall Street Journal last May, with the help of St. Louis's police chief: "Cops are disengaging from discretionary enforcement activity and the 'criminal element is feeling empowered.'"
Logically, one would expect these two motivators — the disincentive to enforce the law, and the incentive to break the law as a result — to be most present in St. Louis and Baltimore. In St. Louis, the two factors involved have clearly spilled over from Ferguson itself. In Baltimore, in addition to its criminal-coddling mayor, out of control prosecutor Marilyn Mosby is determined to get convictions of police officers who were present as Freddie Gray fell into a coma and later died after being in police custody — even poisoning the well by entering into a $6.4 million dollar settlement with Gray's family before the related trials even began.
A Baltimore Sun graphic (scroll down at link) shows how the city's murder rate rose after the April and early May Baltimore riots during the final eight months of 2015:
Murders per month nearly doubled from a January-April average of 18 to 34 during the rest of the year.
How much of an impact the "Ferguson Effect" has had in other cities nationwide may be up for debate — but readers should note that violent crime in the U.S. rose in 2015, reversing virtually unbroken two-decade downward trend, putting the burden of proof squarely on the deniers.
There is, however, no debate that it has taken a serious toll in St. Louis and Baltimore.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.