First off, she says that there is “no data” to prove that cops are Ferguson Effect gun shy. The problem with that is that I don’t think that sort of thing is quantifiable. Even though it is qualifiable and anecdotal. Another problem is that, in stating that there is no Ferguson Effect, all she’s saying is that the 2015 over 2014 black urban violent crime delta cannot be used as prima facie evidence of its existence. However, it is evidence of something.
And that gets me to my point. People keep thinking of the Ferguson effect in terms of hesitant cops. I think AG Lynch is right in that it actually does not exist. But that’s not the point, because that’s not really what the Ferguson effect is. There was a fairly famous study out of Kansas City in the 1970s, where the KCPD varied its own known obvious presence in certain neighborhoods, ranging from a very intense high presence to virtual non-presence, with several gradations in between. The study controlled for a lot of factors, including the most taboo factor. The long and short of it is that police presence qua police presence really didn’t make a difference in terms of violent crime, or other sorts of serious crime, or with public dis/satisfaction with the cops. I think the reason is simple: Because most violent and other serious crime is of the sort that the mere presence of cops cannot deter, unless you have twenty per block on every block 24/7, and that’s just not possible. Shitavious murks Ooktavious over Kool-Aid inside some house; how will even twenty cops on the street in front of the house prevent that from happening?
Even if the cops these days are hesitant, and they are justifiably so here in the post-Ferguson/Baltimore era, it ultimately means nothing to the violent crime rate.
What the Ferguson Effect really is, is that in the two to three years after a significant black riot, the city which experiences the riots will have a higher than usual black violent crime rate. The reason for that is that black riots are not expressions of racial hopelessness and destitution, they are impressions of racial power. They are victory riots; they happen for much the same reason why a city’s sports fans will riot when their city wins a major championship. And, since the local dindus are amped up on the adrenaline of their own victory rioting and jubilation and racial energy, for the next few years, they channel that exuberance with increased violent crime rates, mostly against each other. What it means is that more of those Shitavious-Ooktavious Kool-Aid murders of the sort that cops don’t have the capability to stop happen.
The only way a cop-side Ferguson Effect could exist and could marginally matter is if the local black thugs know that the cops are going to be hesitant. This will marginally embolden them, but even then, it’s not a huge driving factor.