Ferguson Effect Spikes Murder Rate in Kansas City

“Out of sheer self-survival they abandon their duties in black neighborhoods... so gangs and criminal elements take over... and violence explodes.”

A Kansas City political science professor points out that the local homicide rate for 2016 was fully twice as high as that of the first eight months of 2014, prior to the shooting by a white officer of a black man in Ferguson, Missouri. He attributes this largely to what is called “the Ferguson effect” -- the police withdrawal from dangerous black neighborhoods in order to avoid a similar racial conflagration.

The Kansas City Sentinel reports that professor Ernest Evans calculated 41 homicides in Kansas City, Missouri, in the first eight months of 2014 and 41 more in the last four months after the Ferguson shooting. But in 2015 homicides spiked nearly 28 percent to 112, and the total rose again in 2016 to 125.

According to Evans, blacks accounted for 62 percent -- 51 -- of those homicide victims in 2014, as opposed to 31 for other races. In 2015 blacks accounted for 81 of the 112 homicide victims, and in 2016 there were 99 black homicide victims -- 79 percent of the total in a city that is 30 percent black.

As the Sentinel notes, "This trend resulted in 48 more black homicide deaths in 2016 than in 2014."

Why? “In contemporary American society,” Evans explains, “police officers are required to do, on a daily basis, a most un-PC thing: Use force against black people. And, as any veteran cop can tell you, there is no such thing as a “nice take down” – they all look terrible on camera.”

If police officers are to do their jobs conscientiously, Evans concludes, they must have confidence that the media and the authorities will not betray their trust as they did white officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson.

“When they lack such confidence,” says Evans, “out of sheer self-survival they abandon their duties in black neighborhoods. Nature abhors a vacuum–so the gangs and the criminal elements take over the streets in these neighborhoods and violence explodes.”