Heather Mac Donald’s Research on the Law and Order Crisis

heather-macdonald-war-on-copsOn Thursday (Dec. 8) American Experiment will host Heather Mac Donald, the premier crime expert in the nation for a special lunch forum on her new book: The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law Enforcement Makes Everyone Less Safe.  We are expecting a full room of over 350 that will include about 150 law enforcement officers who will be recognized and honored. $30 tickets are available here.   This morning (Dec. 2) Heather Mac Donald gave a terrific interview to the Justice & Drew Show on AM-1130.  The summary below gives a good concise review of her important research and message:

There is a crisis of law and order in inner cities today resulting in an alarming number of black lives being lost.  Police officers, when they get out of their cars in high crime areas now routinely find themselves surrounded by hostile, jeering crowds cursing at them, sometimes throwing things at them, challenging their authority, resistance to arrest is way up, and officers are finding it very difficult to do their job.  And this is all a result of the false narrative of the Black Lives Matter movement that says we are living through an epidemic of racially biased police shootings of blacks.  The data just does not bear that out but because of that false narrative cops are backing off of proactive policing and crime in inner city areas is going through the roof.

The big fallacy of public discourse and activist discourse about the police is to ignore crime rates.  You cannot understand policing today without understanding crime because policing is data driven.  The police go where people are both most victimized and where communities are begging for public order and that, sadly, is in minority neighborhoods given the vast disparities of criminal offending.  Nationally blacks commit homicides at eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined, and if you take Hispanics out of that equation you get a black-white homicide differential of about 11-1.  So when Obama got up three hours before five officers were assassinated in Dallas this July by a Black Lives Matter inspired assassin and lectured the country (from Poland) about how racist the criminal justice system is, and one of his arguments was that blacks are arrested at twice the rate of whites, that ignores crime rates.  And those crime rates mean that blacks die of homicide at six times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined.  That is the civil rights problem of our time, is the fact that so many black children are being gunned in drive by shootings.  The police are trying to solve that problem but when they’re faced with this false narrative that says that they’re racist, it’s resulting in a very, very volatile, dangerous situation in the streets and it’s not just black lives that are being taken but blue lives are being taken as well at an alarming rate this year.

Nationally officers today are facing very similar problems because of a totalizing narrative that spans the cities, makes no distinctions, and says that policing, like America, is shot through with endemic racism.  So while crime tends to be local, right now our problem really is national in that for the past 20 years in this country we’ve been talking about a phantom problem of police racism in order not to talk about a far more difficult and uncomfortable truth which is the greatly elevated rates of inner city crime.  And as long as those crime rates remain so high there will be more police engagement there and more encounters.  Yet a greater percentage of white and Hispanic homicide victims are killed by a cop than black homicide victims.  Twelve percent of all whites and Hispanics who die of homicide are killed by a cop compared to 4% of black homicide victims who are killed by a cop.  So if we’re going to have an anti-cops-lives-matter movement it would make more sense to call it “white and Hispanic live matter” than Black Lives Matter.  So everything the public thinks it knows about race, crime, police, and shootings from the Black Lives Matter movement is exactly wrong, reverse it and you’ll get the truth.

Officers need constant training in courtesy and respect.  They often develop hardened, obnoxious attitudes, and they completely put people off, and that is a real problem.  They are desperate for more hands-on tactical training in those excruciating “shoot — don’t shoot” decisions that they are forced to make in high crime areas where they are more likely to encounter violent felons with guns.  In order to get the inner city economy going you have to bring crime down, it’s not the reverse.  Frankly, that’s the liberal myth that violent crime is a product of poverty or the bad economy, that is just not the case.  These kids in Minneapolis are not shooting each other in drive-by shootings because the economy is bad but because so many of them are being raised in fatherless homes and they don’t have males in their families that are teaching them to be adult males and manly without having to fall back on this just insane level of violence.

It’s become tough to recruit new cops now because nobody wants to go into a job where from the day you start you are viewed as a racist.  So if we are going to have adequate police forces were going to have to turn this narrative around because right now cops around the country are very demoralized and recruiting has basically come to an end.  I’m all for diversity but let’s not lower the standards to do so.  Data does not show that black cops shoot blacks less frequently than white cops, data shows just the opposite.

Peter Zeller is Director of Operations at Center of the American Experiment.