The Human Cost of BLM
A new study explores the Black Lives Matter protests
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One thing I always try to do with these e-mails is introduce you to research you might not otherwise come across. Why?
Because routinely, in the institutions and established media, things which challenge the prevailing orthodoxy among the new elite are downplayed if not ignored.
You see this regularly in how everything from mass immigration and Brexit to Net Zero and interpretations of our history are discussed and framed.
Time and time again, our national debates are shaped around the core assumptions of the new elite —mass immigration is unquestionably positive, globalisation works for everybody, Brexit is a disaster, Net Zero is beyond dispute— while anybody who advocates an alternative view is quietly marginalised if not silenced and stigmatised.
We also saw this during the Black Lives Matter protests which were immediately, enthusiastically, and unquestionably embraced by the new elite.
Contrary to those who accepted there was a legitimate grievance among African Americans but were also sceptical about the BLM movement and its calls to radically scale back or ‘defund’ the police, the new elite pushed on regardless.
Amid the febrile atmosphere of the protests and general hysteria, it simply became taboo to question or challenge the demands of BLM protestors or voice concern about how they might impact on crime and safety.
But now we know they did have an enormous impact—and it was far from positive.
Examining the two waves of BLM protests which erupted in 2014, after the murder of Eric Garner, and then again in 2021, after the murder of George Floyd, academic Travis Campbell, in a just-published paper, throws light on what happened.
While the BLM protests were followed by a significant reduction in ‘police-involved killings’, and did encourage police to adopt body cameras, thereby making them more accountable and transparent, the story does not end there.
The much wider ‘police pullback’ and withdrawal, he finds, had disastrous effects.
“The findings … suggest that the BLM protests led police departments to pull back from interactions with the public and obtain body cameras, leading to increased crime and decreased police killings. Specifically, over the five years after local BLM protests, property crime arrests decreased by approximately 12%, while reported murders increased by roughly 11.5%, which is over 3000 additional homicides. Moreover, the property crime clearance rate experienced a sharp decline of around 8%. These statistics are not only alarming but also offer compelling evidence of a substantial decrease in police activity.”
While he estimates the withdrawal of police and greater use of body cameras contributed to a 10-15% reduction in police-involved homicides over the five year period, preventing an estimated 200 police killings, the wider withdrawal of police is estimated to have produced 3,000 homicides which would not otherwise have happened —not far off the number of people killed on 9/11.
Let me say that again.
3,000 homicides that would not otherwise have happened.
Nor is this the only study to find such a troubling outcome.
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