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The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

The Ferguson Effect?

The so called Ferguson effect is the premise that crime has increased in St. Louis and other large cities because police are not aggressively going after criminals; fearful that aggressive action will get them in trouble. This theory was promoted by former FBI Director Corey and denied by former President Obama.

I have two pieces of information, one data driven and the other anecdotal that supports the Ferguson effect as valid. First the data. I know an attorney who has made his living defending down and out criminals. He received his clients by buying a list of people arrested in St. Louis County and sending letters of inquiry to these individuals. After Ferguson, the names on the list of arrestees dropped significantly from a long list to a short list. His business is hurting to the extent he is seeking other types of employment.

The second piece of evidence concerns by conversations with two female African American St. Louis City cops. I had counseled both of them in a SCORE mentoring session in which they were trying to start a new business. After the conversation I asked them if Ferguson had an effect on policing. Their answer was that it most certainly did, and that cops would now only go by the book and not be aggressive. They also said that aggressive policing is what captures major criminals.

So I believe I have two good pieces of evidence to show that the quality and quantity of policing has diminished since the Michael Brown death. Written by Paul Dribin

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