Quantifying the ‘Ferguson effect’ according to findings from Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Steve Morgan

Quantifying the 'Ferguson effect' according to findings from Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Steve Morgan
IMAGE: VICTORIA MACCHI/VOA NEWS

 

Quantifying the ‘Ferguson effect:’ How Missouri protests affected crime, policing in Baltimore; Arrests declined but crime did not increase in months before Baltimore unrest, according to findings from Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Steve Morgan

 

By Jill Rosen

A “Ferguson effect” likely slowed arrests in Baltimore well before the April 2015 unrest related to the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, but there is little evidence to suggest it had any effect on the city’s crime rate, a new report concludes.

Sociologist Stephen L. Morgan, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University, analyzed crime incident and arrest data to determine if national controversy following the 2014 shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, had caused Baltimore police to shy away from making arrests. He also sought to determine if crime subsequently rose in Baltimore as a result.

While arrests in the city did drop after 2014’s highly publicized protests in Ferguson, Morgan found, there was no related crime spike.

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“People looking for a Ferguson effect tend to look in the wrong place,” Morgan said. “They look at crime rates, but if there is a Ferguson effect, it should be observed in the behavior of the police. People should have been looking at arrests all along.”

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