Reuters ran a story today which said that there would be no chance to St. Louis to be selected by Amazon for its’ headquarters due to the social unrest here. This of course is not a surprise. Written by Paul Dribin
St. Louis is taking it on the chin, much of it deserved. There are demonstrations in the streets, unjust policing, crime, murders, racial strife and more. I believe much of the criticism of our city is on target but unfair. Much of the national coverage makes our city seem as though our problems are unique; they are not. I don’t need to run statistics for most of you to understand that other cities share our problems. We have a lot of good things and people in St. Louis and have first rate cultural attractions, sports, universities, and restaurants. Our problems are not unique, are positives are. Written by Paul Dribin
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
I attended the Cardinals game Saturday night. Upon leaving out on the street a group of white protestors who are members of Black Lives Matter. They were obnoxious and confrontational, with obscene signs including some that called police murders. I am sympathetic with the general cause but this is not a way to win friends and influence people. Written by Paul Dribin
Another thought about Ferguson. There was a high powered Ferguson Commission that had prepared an extensive report with significant findings for improvement. It received a lot of publicity. What has happened to the outcomes from that report? Written by Paul Dribin
Two stories regarding Ferguson Missouri are in the news. The first is that a new Empowerment Center has opened which has promised job training and related services. The second story is that businesses along Florissant Avenue that were burned out as a result of the riots are still empty.
There is only one conclusion. Things in Ferguson have not improved. What was a viable community has now deteriorated. Starting a job training program is a great idea. Unfortunately I have seen such efforts in inner city neighborhoods my whole life, usually without significant results. Do any of you know if people who want job training who have not been able to receive it.? The crowd who burned the stores in a Ferguson are not employable. We will not get anywhere unless we face facts. Written by Paul Dribin